The reason these bands are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame goes far beyond their iconic recorded music- after seeing Cheap Trick, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and Heart perform live, it was clear to everyone why these three bands are in the Rock Hall.
Cheap Trick kicked off the night with a very fitting “Hello There”, originally off their album In Color. It goes without saying that the talent between Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander and Tom Petersson is undeniable- however it was interesting seeing Daxx Nielsen play the role of legendary Bun E. Carlos. I was rather impressed with his capabilities and with how well he fit the role in Cheap Trick- after all, being the son of Rick Nielsen, I’m sure he’s been actively involved with the band for years. They played two songs off their latest album Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello which gave the audience a taste of what their latest record sounded like without over-saturating the set with new music. Of course they performed fan favorites such as “The Flame”, “Surrender”, “I Want You To Want Me” and “Dream Police”, ultimately leading to them closing their set with “Gonna Raise Hell”. The band delivered a performance that would please both super fans and people who only know a song or two.
Joan Jett was up next and she came out full force with a high energy performance of “Bad Reputation”, followed by a Runaways classic “Cherry Bomb”. She played her most known songs such as “I Hate Myself For Loving You”, “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)” and of course the iconic “I Love Rock and Roll” as well as songs off her 2013 release Unvarnished like “TMI” and “Any Weather”. She had the crowd on their feet through the entirety of her set and performed every song with high energy- there is a level of rawness and sense of spontaneity that came with her performance. Joan Jett closed out her set with a cover of “Everyday People” by Sly & The Family Stone.
Heart opened up their set with “Wild Child”, and I have to admit that it was extremely difficult for me to focus on photographing the show when I had arguably two of the best female rock vocalists five feet away from me. There was only one issue with their set- the sound during the first three songs was a little bit ‘much’. By that I mean it seemed that Ann’s vocals were too much for the system- Heart’s music involves a lot of high notes and although Ann could hit them without a problem, the way the speakers projected them to the crowd made them hard to listen to without being hard on the ear. I’m not 100% sure as to what the problem was, but whenever there was a high note it ended up sounding scratchy and almost unlistenable, if you will. Once that issue was cleared up everything else was amazing, both Ann and Nancy’s vocals exceeded my expectations and Nancy’s guitar playing was phenomenal. They played hits such as “Crazy On You”, “Barracuda”, “Magic Man” and “Alone”, however I was disappointed that we didn’t get to hear a few of my favorite songs- “Never”, “Who Will You Run To” and “Nothin’ At All”. They performed a couple tracks off their latest work Beautiful Broken, which again delivered just a taste of their new album without forcing it down the throats of the audience.
The Rock Hall Three For All tour runs through the end of September, and if you have the opportunity to attend I can assure you it’s a show you won’t want to miss. All three bands are legends in their own right, but when combined they create an unforgettable and astounding performance.