March 17, 2012
Winstar World Casino
Thackerville, OK USA
Review by David Huff
Photos by Jeff Jones
As time marches on, aka the older we get, music is one of the very few things that remains a constant source of amusement and wonder throughout our lives. It captures moments in time we look back upon fondly, and for that reason alone, the memories it creates become treasured reminders of the way we were. That said, Heart's appearance at the WinStar World Casino on St. Pat's Day was a wonderful example of days gone by as sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson took a near capacity crowd on a trip down memory lane that was both welcomed, and at times, emotional as well.
I'll just come and say that Ann Wilson's voice is absolutely magnificent. Time may have changed the shape of her body, but it didn't dare tamper with her vocal chords. When she sang songs like "Magic Man", "Barracuda" "Crazy on You" and especially "Alone", it was if time had stood still all these many years. She hit the high notes with ease and sounded like she was recording the songs for the first time.
Most of this concert featured music from Heart's hard rocking period from 1976 to 1980 when the sisters, and friend Sue Ennis, wrote most of the group's successful songs. The most poignant moment of the show, for me at least, was the unexpected surprise of hearing Heart performing "Mistral Wind". It came at the tale end of the two previous songs from Dog & Butterfly, "Straight On" and the title track. I've always considered it one of Heart's masterpiece compositions that captured the very core of the band. Starting out as a ballad, it eventually explodes into hard rock magnificence. That song took me all the way back to the first time I ever saw the band perform the tune - the second Texxas Jam in June 1979. It was as brilliant today as it was way back then.
The interesting thing about this show was the Wilson sister's lack of acknowledging the three comeback albums of their career from 1985 to 1990. Those albums, which included 1985's Heart; 1987's Bad Animals and 1990's Brigade, sold over 10 million units in the U.S. alone, and almost the same number worldwide. Yet, the band only performed "Alone" and "What About Love" from the '85 recording, and "Alone" from Bad Animals. Why they chose to leave off "All I Want to Do is Make Love to You" or "Never" in favor of "Sand" from their last release, 2010's Red Velvet Car, is a bit baffling. I suspect it has something to do with the fact they preferred playing music they wrote, not something they did not. Oh well!
My personal preferences aside, this was still an outstanding show. And again, Ann Wilson's voice still soars like that of an angel. Nancy is still one tough cookie on guitar, and her vocals are just as formidable. This evening, young and old were feted by rock and roll royalty. It may have been just two ‘little queens', but they ruled with a mighty iron fist that had their subject clamoring for more. When they ended the evening with an amazing cover of Led Zeppelin's "Misty Mountain Hop", well, all was forgiven. Jimmy Page you need to take note for future reference. Ann Wilson is your leading lady if you ever get the hankering to take Zep on the road.