Performance Review by Doug Deutsch
Photos by Kathryn White-Esposito
“You’re aging gracefully in your musical tastes,” wrote my good pal Michael Branella on Facebook, after I posted I’d be attending Summer concerts that included The Doobie Brothers, Lionel Ritchie, and Ann Wilson from Heart. The latter – like the rest of these shows, all scheduled at Fantasy Springs Resort/Casino in Indio – took place last Friday night in the casino’s Special Events Center.
It’s probably not for me to say if my musical tastes are aging gracefully – after all, I still enjoy much of the edgy indie/alternative stuff I did more than four decades ago. My guess is, I’m feeling a good deal of musical comfort in legacy-type acts such as Wilson, who I grew up listening to as the lead vocalist in Heart, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based band she has fronted with her sister, guitarist Nancy Wilson, since forming in 1973. I mean, after all, what rock lover doesn’t dig classic songs like “Barracuda,” “Magic Man,” “Dreamboat Annie,” and all the group’s other hits?
Much to our surprise, and chagrin, Wilson did not perform very many Heart tunes – two, to be exact – and their arrangements made them almost unrecognizable. Out of curiosity, I Googled Ann Wilson during the set; lo and behold, it turns out the Wilson sisters are currently estranged and not performing together for now, due to an incident involving Ann’s husband and Nancy’s two 16-year-old twin boys, that we won’t go into here. My guess is that there’s some sort of legal ruling preventing Ann from performing Heart songs in their normal incarnation.
The songs Wilson did perform during her hour-plus set – three by The Who, a couple Led Zeppelin tunes, “I Put A Spell On You” by Screamin Jay Hawkins, even an Elvis Presley classic – clearly demonstrated that, at age 66, she still possesses one of the most powerful voices among female rock singers anywhere. Here’s hoping Ann and Nancy Wilson can solve their family differences and perform as Heart again someday soon.
Besides aforementioned shows by Lionel Ritchie (July 28) and Doobie Brothers (August 18), other upcoming shows at Fantasy Springs include a killer trio of Labor Day Weekend concerts, starting with Pat Benatar (September 1), followed on successive nights by Traffic alumni Steve Winwood (September 2) and a reunion between Stephen Stills (of CSN&Y fame) with his ex, singer/songwriter Judy Collins (for whom he penned ‘Suite Judy Blue eyes’) on September 3. For additional information contact the Fantasy Springs Box Office: (800) 827-2946 or online at www.FantasySpringsResort.com.