The classic sounds  of Joan Jett and Ann and Nancy Wilson brought the Palace of Auburn Hills over two hours of significant music.

Both Joan Jett and Heart planted their feet down firmly in a male dominated rock world decades before it was common to see a female fronted rock band. In the 70s, Heart could be heard all over the radio with such hits as “Barracuda,” “Magic Man” and “Crazy on You,” while Joan Jett got her start with the Runaways, having success with “Cherry Bomb,” “Queens of Noise” and “Hollywood.”

As the lights dimmed, the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” could be heard over the house speakers. Fog started drifting up from behind the stage while a couple of lights above the stage started to twirl slowly around getting brighter and twirling faster as the song progressed. There was a breakdown towards the end of the song where all the crowd heard were the keyboards then the drums started to kick back in and Roger Daltrey screams. The Blackhearts timed it to perfection as they walked on to the stage moments before Daltrey’s scream. The crowd cheered as they saw them and screamed along in unison with Daltrey as his voice screamed over the house speakers.

Dressed in a black long sleeve coat with metal rings laced up her sleeves, tight black pants and black Converse high-tops, Joan Jett looked the part that everyone was expecting her to play; a punk rock ‘n roller who played her songs with such youthful vigor that it felt as if it were the 80s all over again.

The Blackhearts quickly broke into “Bad Reputation” then segued right into “Cherry Bomb.” Jett started singing “Yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah” and eventually got the audience to sing the chorus along with her. As the audience sang louder, Jett mentioned “Alright, power to the people, you’re sounding great out there” then the band quickly broke into “Do You Wanna Touch Me” with the audience picking back up during the chorus.

They played the new song “TMI” before taking the audience back to the early days. “This next song we’d like to play is from my first band the Runaways. This is one of the first songs I ever wrote, if I can remember it.” The crowd chuckled as the band broke into “You Drive Me Wild.”

“Several years ago, I did a movie with a wonderful actor named Michael J. Fox and we did the title song for it. It’s called ‘Light of Day’ and was written by Bruce Springsteen.” One could only imagine Michael J. Fox standing next to her playing his guitar and singing into the microphone along with her as he did in their fictitious movie band The Barbusters.

Jett played around and had some fun with a guitar solo which worked into “Love Is Pain” before taking a moment to speak to the crowd again. “Love between two people can be a beautiful thing,” she said, “But, love between three people can be an even more beautiful thing, especially if one of them is me!” The crowd laughed and cheered along while the band broke into “The French Song.”

Next was the band’s new single, “Any Weather” which Jett mentioned she wrote with Dave Grohl. As soon as “Any Weather” ended, and without so much as a single breath of delay, they launched into “I Love Rock ‘N Roll.” This song sought out those last few holdouts in the crowd and brought them to their feet as they punched their fists to the sky chanting along to the chorus.

Jett thanked the crowd, and one might have thought her show was to come to a close, but that was not the case. They broke into “Crimson & Clover” and the audience loved it. Hands went into the air and a sea of bodies swayed along to it. The show didn’t end there as the band segued flawlessly into “I Hate Myself for Loving You.” The band got together to bow at the front of the stage then disappeared into the darkness from which they had come.

With candles lit and some type of tribal sounding music playing in the background, one might have thought they were in for a much mellower show when Heart took the stage. It was evident this was not the case as the band quickly kicked it into full gear with “Magic Man” followed by “Heartless.”

Ann introduced the song “Mashallah” with, “We are going to do a song off our most recent album Fanatic. It’s a love song but a different kind of love song. It’s all about that moment when you feel it” before mentioning that a lot of their songs are about things that actually happened to them. She told a story about how they received a letter from a young woman who said she loved Heart in the 70s. Ann mentioned “She wrote us this letter and we kind of lifted the words from it” which segued into “Bebe Le Strange.”

Nancy walked up to the microphone stating “So many decades to choose from tonight. We are going to the 80s for a moment.” The band played “There’s The Girl,” which Nancy sang. Nancy continued “We’re going to stay in the roaring 80s and play a song written by Bernie Taupin. He wrote this song and after we heard it we knew we had to record it” as the band played “These Dreams.”

The band segued right into “Alone” which kept up the mellow vibe of “These Dreams” before rocking it back out with “Day of the Eagle.” Originally recorded by Robin Trower, Heart put as much rock in the roll that their version matched the power behind the original, note for note.

The energy being given was at an all-time high when they broke into “If Looks Could Kill” then “Crazy on You” closing with “Barracuda.” The enthusiasm from the crowd was manic as the thunderous cheers seemed to rattle the walls of the Palace.

Amazingly enough, though, the show didn’t end there. It was time for their encore. The guitar kicked in with a familiar Led Zeppelin guitar lick, as the sound of the tambourine and the drummer played along. All of a sudden, Ann was belting out the beginning chant to “Immigrant Song,” sounding so similar to Robert Plant that when you closed your eyes you visualized Plant up on stage singing it. Not only did they play “Immigrant Song” but added in “No Quarter” and “Misty Mountain Hop.” Nancy’s thick riffs over the drummer’s John Bonham style thunder absolutely brought the roof down.

Heart’s achievements were honored with a Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2013 while Joan Jett and the Blackhearts are part of this year’s inductees. Not only did Joan Jett and Ann & Nancy Wilson lead their bands, they wrote the songs and played the instruments too. Although coming from different worlds, it made sense for these two powerhouse bands to tour together, both celebrating 4 decades of rock n’ roll hits.

Our photographer, Thom Seling, was on hand to capture the moment. Here are his images from the night.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts 
Website | Facebook | Twitter

About The Author

Erik's interest in music began at an early age. In high school, he was the co-host of the underground metal show the Social Mutilation Hour, on 89.5 WAHS, under the name of Neurotik Erik. During this period of his life, he independently promoted shows under the name of Ding Dong Ditch Productions. Erik would rent out local VFW Halls, use space at Oakland Community College Auburn Hills Campus, or simply throw basement parties around the Detroit area. While at college at Ferris State University, he became head of the student run organization, Entertainment Unlimited, and continued to promote shows, but on a larger scale. He also helped start an underground magazine, 'Outpunk', where he interviewed bands and wrote music reviews. Additionally, Erik joined the staff at the Ferris State University Torch and wrote on a larger scale.

Related Posts