Women of Rock! Joan Jett, Lita Ford, The Return of Heart & More (Oct/2019)

Good times with some of the most important women in the history of Rock N Roll! 


Love Alive Tour: Heart w/ Joan Jett - August 23rd - Dos Equis Pavillion - Dallas, TX 

Sidelined for a few years by some in-fighting between the Wilson Sisters. All has been put to the side to bring their Love Alive Tour to a packed house on a hot Texas August night. I was floored by how many people were here at a near sell-out of over 19,000. Good to know that many people, young & old still come to rock shows. 
First up was my girl & former Runaway Joan Jett:

Now I'm a MASSIVE fan of hers no matter what & somehow this was only my third time to ever see her perform but I must say they first two were largely forgettable & sadly I didn't have much expectation other than I was just glad to see her as always. Instead she delivered in a way I had hoped/anticipated the first time. Hit after hit that had this Big Fight Feel to it that hammered from song one to the finale. Hearing Light of Day live was a bucket list moment for me as that's always been my go-to song when I'm feeling low or in need of a boost. She's that rare talent, that while most of the material were covers, tonight they were all her's.

Setlist:

Victim of Circumstance 
Cherry Bomb (The Runaways) 
Do You Wanna Touch Me (Gary Glitter cover) 
Bad Reputation 
You Drive Me Wild (The Runaways) 
Light of Day (Bruce Springsteen cover) 
Fake Friends 
Love Is Pain 
Long Time 
Fresh Start 
Love Is All Around (Sonny Curtis cover) 
I Love Rock 'n' Roll (The Arrows cover) 
Crimson & Clover (Tommy James & the Shondells cover) 
I Hate Myself for Loving You 

Encore: 

Real Wild Child (The Dee Jays cover) 
Everyday People (Sly & the Family Stone cover)

Up next, Heart made good on their half of the bill with a hits-heavy set that played to all their many strengths by mixing folk, funk, rock and power ballads into an exceptional set that flowed remarkably well.  It was clear from note one that Ann Wilson’s voice has not suffered a bit after 40 years of wailing (this badass turns freaking 70 next year) and it would only get better as Magic Man & others kept the crowd on their feet.

In fact, the only other time I've seen Heart was with also with Joan Jett as well as Cheap Trick, in 2016, the year all three entered the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame & decide to do a tour together of the same name. Nancy who also looked youthful & fit & STILL super gorgeous, continued her time in the spotlight with an acoustic guitar-based version of her big 80s moment These Dreams, which was likewise accompanied by a huge sing-along. 

 

 

Heart’s biggest 80s hits were given the stripped-down treatment. The synths and massive choruses were completely removed from What About Love, and brought Ann’s voice to forefront and showed what amazing songs they are, it was difficult not to think of these bare arrangements as a reflection of their well-documented disdain for that era of their career. 

Like Jett above, another band that does a lot of covers that seem more like theirs than he originals but they also have classic rock staples that still sounded as huge as ever. The funky Straight On and closer Barracuda were spot-on as  the band returned for their encore with a perfect rendition of Stairway to Heaven harkening back to the acoustic group the LoveMongers, an acoustic group the Wilson Sisters put together while Heart was largely inactive in the 90's. The nearly two-hour set reminded me how multi-dimensional Heart is by moving from strength to strength seamlessly. Great show!

Setlist:

Rockin' Heaven Down 
Magic Man 
Love Alive 
Your Move (Yes cover)
I Heard It Through the Grapevine / Straight On 
The Boxer (Simon & Garfunkel cover) 
These Dreams 
Dog & Butterfly 
Little Queen 
Even It Up 
What About Love (Toronto cover) 
Mistral Wind 
Crazy on You 
 

Encore: 

Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin cover) 
Alone (I-Ten cover) 
Barracuda

 

Lita Ford - October 5th - Glass Cactus - Grapevine, TX

Now, a few weeks removed, it's fellow former Runaway Lita Ford's turn at the plate. The difference with Lita however tends to be either management or pigeonholed because of her Metal associations & image. What that mean's is, while Jett is playing to 10s of thousands & in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, Lita is seen as a bit of a throwback and the places she performs reflect that. While this venue was nice & all, it reeked of amateur hour and off the grid.
Didn't stop Ford from rawking the joint however:

 

 

Thankfully, she too will be returning to big arena's next year along with another Hall of Famer, Alice Cooper as his opening act, but on her own, she still plays every shithole that a performer of stature that's been at it as long as she has would most likely avoid if they didn't love it so much. And at just turning 61 years of age, it's clear that she not only loves it but lives for it. You can tell that it makes her feel youthful, alive & like a star and in terms of performance that's also great for the fans.

I too am a bit older now, so if I'm gonna drive all the way out to a resort in Grapevine, I wanna get there 5 mins before she goes on & be gone 5 mins after she's done. Called the venue who of course bullshitted me about what time she was going on. I get there at the time they told me only to find that even the opener hadn't gone on yet. I was up for any opener, the least of which these motherfuckers. Don't remember their name but easily one of the worst "groups" I've had the misfortune to have to tolerate. And they played for like TWO HOURS. Brutal. Thankfully they had this nice patio right on Grapevine Lake so I passed the time somewhat peacefully thinking of a way to disable the speakers that was piping that horrible shit out to this little oasis. 

So by the time Lita came on, I was a bit grumpy, but then about 60 or so people started making their way towards the front of the stage. Now, while still performing might make Miss Ford feel youthful, you will never feel older in your life being at one her solo shows in a place like this. It made me feel much older than I actually am & it was because the crowd was just so embarassing. Those people in High School that never acquired any self awareness? Their huge Lita Ford fans. Ford herself doesn't seem to have much in that department either, who speaks in tour monologue or Gig Talk, but she's LITA FREAKING FORD. Like the other groups mentioned above, she too does a lot of covers in her set, over half were covers or collaborations. But while their are movies made about Joan Jett all by herself, one thing Ford has over her is that she's definitely a songwriter. Sadly, we will probably never see that Runaways reunion. But until then, Lita is still rawking.

Setlist:

Gotta Let Go 
Larger Than Life 
Relentless 
Hungry 
The Bitch Is Back (Elton John cover) 
Playing With Fire 
Back to the Cave 
Can't Catch Me 
Falling In and Out of Love 
Out for Blood 
Cherry Bomb (The Runaways) 
Black Leather (Sex Pistols cover) 
Only Women Bleed (Alice Cooper cover) 
Close My Eyes Forever 
Kiss Me Deadly

Photos - 

Roy Turner
Anna Knowlden-Friel 

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