Love Alive and Well | Heart Love Alive Tour 2019 – with Joan Jett and Elle King
Dos Equis Pavilion – Dallas, Texas – August 23, 2019 | Words by Mike DiQuinzio | Photos courtesy of Heart. All Copyrights reserved.
The Wilson sisters put aside the recent family squabbles that sidelined them for a few years to bring their Love Alive Tour to a packed Dos XX Pavilion in Dallas, Texas on a hot August night. It was worth the wait, as Heart played to all their many strengths by mixing folk, funk, rock and power ballads into an exceptional set that flowed remarkably well.
Following the incomparable Joan Jett, Heart made good on their half of this dream bill with a hits-heavy set that opened with the lesser-known “Rockin’ Heaven Down”. It was clear from note one that Ann Wilson’s voice has not suffered a bit after 40 years of wailing, and it would only get better as “Magic Man” followed and predictably kept the crowd on their feet – and their phones in the air – as lasers illuminated the pavilion from the rear of the stage.
Heart would pay homage to many artists and songs that influenced them throughout the evening, as when Nancy Wilson took the mic to introduce Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer”. Although the crowd was mostly seated by this point, this song created an obvious connection between them and the band as many in the audience sang while gazing hypnotically at the stage. Nancy 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.
Like “These Dreams”, Heart’s biggest 80s hits were given the stripped-down treatment. The synths and massive choruses were completely removed from “What About Love” and “Alone”, and although they 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.
Their classic rock staples will always be the biggest crowd-pleasers though, and they did not disappoint. The funky “Straight On”, “Even it Up”, “Crazy on You” and closer “Barracuda” sounded unbelievably like their recorded versions, but “Mistral Wind” was the late-set show highlight. It sounded amazing and was the most powerful song of the set until the band returned for their encore with a perfect rendition of “Stairway to Heaven”. These two songs were the undeniable highlights of an already stellar show.
The best shows are the ones that make me forget that I’m there not as fan but as a writer, and that is what happened on this night. The nearly two-hour set reminded me how multi-dimensional Heart is by moving from strength to strength seamlessly. While we experience diminishing returns from many of our classic rock heroes, it’s reassuring to know Heart still delivers.
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