Review and photos by John Jeffrey
Niagara Falls, NY - The one thing you can count on when seeing the legendary band Heart in concert, is that you are guaranteed sonic perfection, courtesy of usually flawless performances put on by Ann & Nancy Wilson and company. Last Thursday night's sold out performance at the Seneca Niagara Casino Events Center was no exception. Playing a 15 song set, clocking in at just under 90 minutes, the 'casual' fans in attendance couldn't have asked for a better song selection. While a Heart "Fanatic" (ironically the name of their most recent CD from 2012) may argue that point, hoping they'd delve into more of their deep cuts or other songs from their hit laden period in the mid 80's, the general consensus of the crowd that night was clear - Heart delivered the goods.
With the incredible musical prowess they possess, referring to Ann & Nancy Wilson by their gender at this point is simply insulting. Keeping the same lineup since 2012, Heart sounds better than ever. Ann's voice was just spot on all night, and Nancy's driving rhythm guitar - combined with Craig Bartok's fluid lead playing is simply, sonically satisfying. The unsung hero of the group is clearly drummer Ben Smith. Smith's rock solid playing and impeccable timing is so constant, you almost forget he is there at times.
With the band finally starting to embrace their "MTV" period from the 80's (somewhat), keyboardist Debbie Shair has been given more opportunity to shine in the spotlight, as the band is now doing more faithful renditions of songs like "What About Love" and "These Dreams," by incorporating the full keyboard arrangements, whereas during previous tours, they would only offer acoustic renditions (as they continue to do with the song "Alone").
While sticking with mostly the classics, the band did sprinkle in 2 songs from "Fanatic" ("Mashallah" and "Dear Old America") and played the rare fan favorite "Dog & Butterfly," complete with Ann Wilson on acoustic guitar. The crowd was also treated to a brand new song, "Nothing But Love," which was dedicated to the "single" fans in the crowd.
As Nancy Wilson incorporated Led Zeppelin's "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" into the acoustic intro of "Crazy On You," it gave the audience members with a keen ear a clue as to what was to come next, as they ended the show with a triple encore of Zeppelin.
Upon closing the night with "Misty Mountain Hop," many fans wandered from their seats to up in front of stage, feeling the timeless energy the band emanates during their live show. Showing no signs of slowing down, you can rest assure Heart shall carry on in sheer greatness for many years to come!
Special Thanks to Tony Astran for making it all happen for this show!