Let's break here real quick.
When the Wilson sisters sit around the island range at home, they simply can't, under any circumstance, device a set list this good.
Who the hell opens up with "Barracuda?" Even if it's a beat or two slower than usual?
You know who does? Overtly confident players who have something up their sleeves! Because this is what I thought ... We can only move on out with two scenarios: a) Blow the load now, early, on them -- no one will know what hit them, and/or b) we're all going to burn in hell, slowly.
But it wasn't. "Barracuda?" Yes! "Barracuda" followed by "Heartless." And "What About Love." And "Magic Man." Yes. That is confidence. That is saying we might fuck it up or give you the best night of your life.
After Ann whipped the flute out for "Dreamboat Annie" we knew we'd be in for a treat, and that treat would come under the guise of "workplace" equality with the band and a sharp reminder of how greatly these women can rock. Their 1980 charting hit "Even It Up" brought it to fruition right before they went full meta with "Kick it Out," a song three years the previous one's junior, but no less in gumps.
This deep into the shenanigans, the band decided to introduce themselves. Before we get into that, let's discuss the particulars -- Ann broke it down in the sense of a household responsibility with drummer Ben Smith and bass player Dan Rothchild holding down the rhythm fort and establishing a foundation. Rothchild is the epitome of a ne'er-do-well who just so happened to be on the stage with a goofy smile and the promise of remembering a certain set of chords.
His Motörhead, "Everything louder than everything else" t-shirt should've given it away. This is not the Heart of three years ago. Oh no, this is a serious, ass-kicking unit of destruction -- and as part of the rhythm section, he held.
But then they did "Straight On," showing an extremely balanced sensibility to their entire overture. Following this up was the band's favorite Paul McCartney and Wings tune "Let Me Roll It." What an excellent segue to their ongoing jammer "Heaven;" an unrecorded, but nightly jam in the vein of pretty good stoner college rock, invariably described by the neophyte crowd as "Soundgarden meets Black Sabbath."
Observe and report, right?
And while people are trying to make a head or tail of it, they snuck in '80s megahit "These Dreams" in the minute lull, just enough to keep pace and offer an MTV Unplugged-version of the track, soft and sensible -- beautiful and gentle, with enough oomph to make it memorable; but memorable enough to sneak in "Alone" immediately after and no one was the wiser.
Guitarist Craig Bartock and keyboardist/synths-chef Debbie Shair did a marvelous job of retaining the integrity of the band's '70s roots without sacrificing their continuous movements through rock and roll. There should be some credit there. Heart will always be the Wilson sisters, but it is nice to know that the supporting set of characters is every bit as accomplished, regardless of tenure-ship.
And do you know what they did right towards the tail end of things? They created speculation with a frilly version of "Silver Wheels" leading (traditionally) into "Crazy On You."