Wow! Make that double wow!
Got a chance to see two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acts at one concert and they were g-r-r-r-eat!
Imagine Joan Jett & the Blackhearts opening for Heart, led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson.
Tuesday night was four hours of rock music, featuring bad-ass frontwomen and talented band members happy to take a back seat to the ladies, who’ve been performing since the ’70s.
The venue: Sunlight Supply Ampitheatre in Ridgefield, Washington, about a 30-minute drive north of Portland under normal circumstances. (More on that later.) It’s an outdoor venue that seats 18,000 and a place that draws some pretty fine artists. I’ve seen Steely Dan and Michael McDonald, the Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum at previous shows.
Joan Jett came on 8 pm sharp and performed for an hour. At 60, she appeared and sounded just as you would expect: dressed in black from head to toe, layered jet-black hair, wailing on a wine-colored Gibson guitar, and belting out her vocals with a growl.
She had a lot of the crowd on their feet as she ripped through “Cherry Bomb,” “Bad Reputation,” “I Hate Myself For Loving You,” and the anthem “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
She did covers of “Crimson and Clover” and “Everyday People” and genuinely seemed to be having fun.
Joan and her band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 — and for good reason. A founding member of the all-teenage girl band The Runaways, she is often called the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Godmother of Punk.
She set the mood beautifully for Heart, who followed up with a 90-minute set.
The Wilson sisters are flat-out amazing. The two are military brats whose family settled in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, so Tuesday’s concert was a Pacific Northwest homecoming on their national tour.
Ann, who just turned 69, is the heart and soul of the band (pun intended) as lead vocalist and songwriter. Nancy, at 65, is a virtuoso on guitar and lends a nice change of pace when she’s the featured singer.
While the Blackhearts pounded away at nothing but hard rock, Heart displayed more versatility. Sure, they ran through a pile of hits: “Magic Man,” “Even It Up,” “What About Love” and “Little Queen.”
But they also did a cool version of Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard Through The Grapevine” that segued into “Straight On.” They harmonized beautifully on Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” and followed up with “These Dreams” and “Dog and Butterfly.”
They ended their set with “Crazy On You” then came back with a three-song encore: Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” the ballad “Alone” and the kick-ass “Barracuda.”
Heart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, nearly 40 years after they hit it big with the 1975 album “Dreamboat Annie.”
I’d been wanting to see Heart for a long time. What a bonus to catch Joan Jett at the same time.
If you’re thinking of attending a concert at Sunlight Supply Amphitheatre, be forewarned. Although the parking lot has space for 7,000 vehicles, they strongly encourage using the park-and-ride lot in Vancouver and a shuttle bus to and from the venue.
I did just that, but rush hour traffic meant a one-hour drive to the parking lot shuttle and leisurely arrival that was too late to catch the warmup act at 7 pm. No biggie. I was there for the headliners.
But…after the concert ended at 11, it took nearly an hour and a half to get home. Had to wait in line with throngs of tired, cranky people to catch one of the shuttles and get back to the park-and-ride lot just before midnight. I got home about 12:30 am. Hardly ideal.