(Freedom Hill, Sterling Heights, MI – July 16th, ’02)
This relatively-new outdoor amphitheater is rather great to watch shows at in the summer, that’s for sure. But, what it accidentally does is carry voices across the air, therefore dispersing them upwards without allowing them to rebound off of ceilings and such for a more bountiful reverb. The reason I start this Heart review like this is that Nancy Wilson’s voice hasn’t been at it’s most powerful in the past few years due to one reason or another and unfortunately tonight she never got the credit she deserved for actually turning in a wonderful singing performance.
Aiming straight for the musical jugular the Wilson sisters leapt into action with ’Crazy’’ before mysteriously parading two new songs; one of which called ’Witch’ - although completely lyrically-generic – was at the same time weirdly catchy. The guitar-driven set opening carried forward with ’Straight On’ before pulling in for a quieter version of ’These Dreams.’ Now, Nancy’s voice may have strayed over the past few years as aforementioned, but sister Ann’s once-powerhouse vocals tonight sounded like a drunken attempt at karaoke ! The notes seemed a little out of sync, her power severely lacking, and her enthusiasm greatly diminished from other outings that I’ve witnessed. Wearing a pin badge that showed her allegiance to the political battle that reigned between Kennedy and Johnson, it was getting clearer by the second that perhaps Ann was reflecting too much on her older Heart days of sit back, kick back and the tunes will fall into place before the end of the night !
With a stage primarily lit by both red and blue lighting, the girls go acoustic for the mega hit ’Alone’ and then tread the path of comfort-food on ’Dog and Butterfly’. During this period of time it was revealed to us that this is the first tour ever where Nancy has been able to ‘pic flick’ !! (Think carefully about it and you’ll soon get there !) Three more slow songs are knocked out before a wonderfully inspired rendition of Elton John’s ’Mona Lisa’s and Mad Hatters’ is given lovingly to the audience.
Coming back from the encore, their biggest worldwide hit to date (’All I Wanna Do (Is Make Love To You)’) still not having seen the light of day, they tease the crowd by throwing out two more classic tracks in the form of ’Magic Man’ and ’Barracuda’. Another quick encore later and with ’All I Wanna Do …’ still nowhere in sight, the loss is immediately wiped from the memory as Led Zeppelin’s classic ’Black Dog’ is thrust upon us. But, that’s it and after one finale farewell, the sisters are gone for another year and ’All I Wanna Do …’ is mysteriously left behind in the songs closet until, perhaps, next year’s Greatest Hits tour.
Review and Photograph by Russell A. Trunk