365 Day Song Challenge: Day 92 – “Alone”

Day 92: A song by the last band you saw play live.

“Alone” – Heart

AloneI mentioned in the “Crazy On You” post some time back that we would be going to see Heart. They are a band I’ve liked to varying degrees for many years. (I got my major exposure to them like many teens did in the mid-80s, with their self-titled album.) But I had never seen them live. I was pretty excited about it.

I was not let down.

The show, incidentally was today. (Or it would be if I wasn’t a few days behind). Thus, that makes Heart the last band I saw play live.

Both Laura and I are in agreement that Ann Wilson has, somewhere along the line, made a pact with the devil. It’s the only explanation for her being able to still sing the way she does. It is just not natural for someone of her age (63 as of this writing) to sound so good. There were times during the performance where you would not have known it wasn’t the Ann Wilson of 20 or 30 or 40 years ago singing. She is still that good.

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We were treated to “Barracuda” as the opening song. And “Crazy On You” was the closer for the main set. (And I’ve got to say, live versions of “Crazy On You” are good, but it’s nothing like actually being there. It just rocked.)

Yeah, yeah, I know. I already talked about “Crazy On You.” Cut me some slack, I’m getting there. I’m actually here to talk to you about a song that was never a favorite of mine, really. And that would be “Alone.”

Yes, it was a decent enough song. Yes, it was a #1 single. Yes, it propelled Bad Animals to #2 on the album charts. But at the end of the day, it was your typical mid- to late-80s power ballad. I never thought there was very much that was special about it.

Until this show.

The song itself is still not that special, but the performance made it a highlight. It was done acoustically (well, except for the electricity pumping through the keyboards, but go with it). Although we kept mentally expecting the bombastic drums and crunching guitars to come in, those guys had actually left the stage. So it was just Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson (on acoustic guitar) and their keyboard player. And it was fantastic. Ann hit all the notes. And didn’t just hit them, she belted them out. If there had been any question up to that point about her voice, all doubts were erased. We were more than duly impressed.

“These Dreams” was another personal highlight of the show for me, as well. Nancy Wilson’s vocal wasn’t all that great, but when they reached the chorus, I was still transported back to the mid-80s and I got my (in)famous “face flush.” It was a nice moment.

The best moment of the show, however, had nothing to do with the venue, or even the music.

Given that Heart has been around for nearly 40 years, the age of the audience trended, shall we say, older. Most people sat for the majority of the show, but there we some hardcore fans front and center that stood the whole time, and were even leaning against the stage. About 20 minutes in, some guy in a suit approached the security guy in the front and said something to him. After a chat with the security guy, Mr. Suit proceeded to walk across the front telling people to back away from the stage and sit down. Some did. Others just looked at him. But the classic moment was, as soon as he had passed by her, Ann Wilson got a baffled look on her face, then immediately motioned for people to come right back up. Whether Mr. Suit was affiliated with the theatre somehow or just a crotchety old guy who doesn’t know how concerts work is unknown, but he disappeared, apparently in defeat, and the band played on.

I’ve previously stated in this blog that I wasn’t much interested in live shows anymore, but I think I’m changing my tune on that. Seeing Heart in the intimate setting of an old-style theatre was nice. And something I think I’d like to do again. Minus the crotchety old guy, of course.

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 30 – “Crazy On You”

Day 30. A song from a band/artist that you are planning to see in the next 6 months:

“Crazy On You” — Heart

Heart - Crazy On YouAh, to hear “Crazy On You” for the first time again. When the acoustic guitar starts, with Nancy Wilson plucking out those notes, you know she’s good, but you still don’t have a clue as to what’s coming. When she starts strumming the chords on the acoustic, you can start to feel where this might be going. And then the electric guitar riff kicks in. Brilliant.

Add Ann Wilson’s vocals and it goes to another level. It all becomes more frenetic and impassioned as the song continues. Until, by the last chorus, you feel a little spent.

“Barracuda” may be Heart’s signature song, but for my money, “Crazy On You” is the better song. I was 5 when this song came out, but thanks to my brother and myriad classic rock stations, I’ve known about it for a long time. I gained a whole new appreciation for it last year when we watched the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Heart (the entire original line-up) took the stage and launched into this song. It packs a punch on record, but it scored a wallop during that live performance. I get this thing when a song really gets me where my face flushes. Well, I don’t know if it actually flushes, but I can feel it in my cheeks. The second the electric guitar started, I felt it. I was blown away.

Ann Wilson has taken care of her voice. Nearly 40 years after this song first appeared, she can still hit the notes. It was amazing. (Compare this to Geddy Lee’s cringe-inducing performance —at around 3:40 at the same induction ceremony. I love Rush, but please, Geddy, hang it up.)

“Barracuda” followed and that was really good, too, but like I said, “Crazy On You” is the one that does it for me. Watching it we agreed that if Heart came around, we really ought to go see them. Which is saying something, because as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t go to a lot of live shows anymore.

And then in December I got the email saying that they were coming to the Providence Performing Arts Center. I didn’t hesitate. I promptly purchased tickets, even though it means we’ll be out late on a school night. (Oh, wait, we’re adults with no kids. We can do whatever we want!)

I’m pretty excited for this show. It won’t have the acrobatics of a Pink show, but that’s okay. I think we’ll be properly entertained anyway. Heart’s been doing  this since before Pink was born. That’s got to count for something.

I think we can pretty well rest assured that we’ll hear “Crazy On You.” We may have to wait a while for it, but we’ll hear it.

And I bet my cheeks flush.

The performance that directly led to ticket purchase: