The US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa was overtaken by female rockers on Saturday, March 21st with Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and Heart. As the lights went down, Jett took the stage to music by The Who, perhaps a nod to the fact that she will be opening for them on their 50th anniversary tour. Bad Reputation kicked it off, followed by Cherry Bomb. Her voice sounds exactly the same as it always has and her on-stage energy matched the energy of the crowd. Another classic, Do You Wanna Touch Me was followed by a song from her latest album Unvarnished, entitled TMI. When a mention of her first band, The Runaways, brought cheers from the crowd,Jett performed You Drive Me Wild, which she stated was the first song she ever wrote. The remainder of the set included some additional new tunes: Make it Back and Any Weather (written with Dave Grohl), interspersed with older songs like Light of Day, Love is Pain and The French Song. And of course, what Joan Jett show would be complete without I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll, I Hate Myself for Loving You and Crimson and Clover? A quick encore of Real Wild Child and The Blackhearts exited the stage and made way for the crew to make the preparations for Heart.
Starting off with a bang, the Wilson sisters and the rest of the band got the crowd out of their seats immediately with Barracuda. Ann and Nancy both looked and sounded fantastic. Ann has an amazing ability to be able to belt it out and also hold back when supporting her sister with harmonies. She also lets the band shine on instrumental solo sections, moving towards the back of the stage and dancing next to the drummer. Heartless, What About Love and Kick it Out were next. The crowd, still on their feet, mind you, was thrilled by the opening notes of Magic Man. Between songs, we would see little moments of sisterly love, and the ladies hugged each other before breaking into Straight On. If possible, Ann’s voice seemed to grow even stronger as the night went on, which was evident on Mashallah and also when she belted out the Aretha Franklin tune, Ain’t No Way (after which Nancy commented, “I love it when she does that.”) Next up, a couple of 80’s favorites, These Dreams and Alone. The crowd roared when Ann sang that note in the middle of Alone. You know, THAT note. If Looks Could Kill was followed by Crazy On You, complete with Nancy’s acoustic intro. As the band exited the stage, the sisters walked off with their arms around each other. But of course, there was an encore. Heart returned to the stage with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, followed by a song that I unfortunately did not recognize but may have been another Led Zeppelin tune, as they finished the night with Misty Mountain Hop.
Although this was a “seated” show, the main floor crowd stayed on their feet the entire evening and a great time was had by fans of all ages.