On Wednesday, June 14, Ann Wilson of Heart played The Rose Music Center in Huber Heights, Ohio. The solo trek is giving her a chance to stretch out and do her own thing, enjoying personal freedom, performing Heart classics, covers and solo material. Wilson brought an evening of class, elegance and ageless vocal power with an emotionally driven performance.
The two-set show was fashioned as an evening with experience and advertised as expect the unexpected. There were some definite surprises mixed in with favorites as the band played songs from Hendrix, The Who, The Black Crowes and Ray Charles among others with Wilson telling personal stories about them adding her own touch of enchantment.
Guitarist Craig Bartock, bassist Andy Stoller, keys and accordion player Dan Walker and drummer Denny Fongheiser played the music as Wilson serenaded the pavilion. A video screen loomed behind them flashing images all night, enriching the music, atmosphere and experience.
The show began with the first of three tunes by The Who “The Real Me.” Wilson gave the crowd three tastes of what they wanted early with “Barracuda,” “Crazy On You,” and “What About Love.”
The night’s first solo offering came with “Fool No More” written with Bartock, about being here in the future. They paid tribute to The King, giving everyone shivers on “One Night With You.” The flames of magnetic, passionate, explosive desire and impatience roared and rolled on screen as they broke out some dark southern groove on “Anguish.”
The background went psychedelic with shades of the ‘60s as Hendrix got some love on “Manic Depression” with intermission.
They returned, pulling “A Million Miles” from the Heart library. “I’ve Seen All Good People” by Yes was followed by a stirring “She Talks to Angels.” Wilson said during these uncertain times people she’s talked to from all over say they feel unsure and overwhelmed. A symbolic bridge of connection reached out behind Peter Gabriel’s words and the slow bluesy notes of “Don’t Give Up.”
Wilson breathed out the words of The Animals on “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” as The Who said “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
The crowd popped loud for the beginning acoustic notes of “Alone.” Love reigned down courtesy of The Who’s final appearance.
The first encore brought out Buffalo Springfield’s, “For What It’s Worth” and Aretha’s Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way.”
Wilson returned with crystal ball in hand to say goodbye. It’s been done many times, many ways, but Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was the original spell caster. Wilson told a story of when the Heart sisters were young and their mom put them to bed with Ray Charles singing about the “The Danger Zone.”
Images by Mike Ritchie.