Night & Day — It was billed as highly anticipated, and Heart's show at Artpark proved to be well worth the wait. The Wilson sisters and their Heart bandmates filled the amphitheatre with beautiful music from every era of their remarkable career, and threw in a few new songs as well.
The sell-out crowd was treated to a flawless performance that began shortly after 8:15 p.m. with the title cut from the bands forthcoming album, "Fanatic." The Artpark crowd received the song well.
They continued the set with blazing versions of their hits, "Magic Man," and "Heartless," before Ann Wilson commented on how beautiful the venue was and how they should "fill it with love," after which they played "What About Love."
Ann Wilson's vocals on the rockers was stellar, but it was on the ballads like "What About Love," that one could truly appreciate what a force of nature that her voice really is, and that it must be experienced in a live setting to appreciate its depth.
In addition to playing the hits, Heart broke out a deep cut, "Mistral Wind" from "Dog and Butterfly." The song created an almost surreal environment as fans sat in near silence absorbing the raw beauty of the number. After "Minstrel Wind" they kicked right back into gear with "Even it Up."
The ability to create musical peaks and valleys is what made the show work. Heart's transitions from a ballad to a rocker and then back again fit together like a perfect puzzle and created a unique contrast. They were also able to integrate the new material in the set in a way that made sense, like when Nancy Wilson took over lead vocals on a new song entitled "Walkin' Good," and then followed it up with "These Dreams."
The highlight of the evening was an acoustic version of "Alone." The original version of the song is a classic, but stripped of the slick production the song gives Ann Wilson a chance to really shine and she seized the moment. The crowd's reaction to her performance actually had Ann Wilson choking up when she thanked them.
The main set closed with "Dear Old America," from "Fanatic," followed by "Crazy on You" and "Barracuda." In spite of the fact that Heart has been playing those two songs for years, they still sound as if they really enjoy playing them.
After a short time offstage, they returned for two more songs, "59 Crunch," followed by a cover of The Who's "Love Reign O'er Me."
Based on the crowd's reception of the new material its likely more than a few fans in attendance will snatch up "Fanatic" as soon as it's released. All four of the new songs sounded very polished even though they have not been playing them for very long.
Even though fans have come to expect great performances from Heart, they somehow manage to get better with each passing year.