Dreamboat Annie Live

Heart


Heart has broken musical ground and given rock and roll a strong, healthy pulse for 30 years. Vocalist Ann Wilson and her guitar-slinging sister Nancy shook up the 1970s music scene; they weren’t tucked away in an all-girl band or in a male-dominated band. Rather, they were Heart’s main artery onstage and wrote all the songs on their debut album, Dreamboat Annie. Sure, they could play the ballads with class and grace, but they could also rock as hard and heavy as their male counterparts, backed by enough talent to make an impressive splash with the Y chromosomes in the gene pool.

Reissuing Dreamboat Annie in its entirety as a live CD recorded April 2007 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, the Wilson Sisters have created musical history by playing iconic songs that have remained viable since their birth three decades ago on vinyl. Ann’s voice alone is akin to a living, breathing creature; an entity unto itself and the defining element of the band. It’s still powerful, passionate and nuanced with expression and range untouched by the years. She belts out the classics “Magic Man” and “Crazy on You” with thrillingly primal abandon; she slinks, purrs and yowls suggestively through “White Lightning and Wine,” and delivers “Dreamboat Annie” as though her very voice were tenderly cradling a child.

Nancy’s fretwork is just as adept, a perfect and seamless complement to Ann’s voice, and a string ensemble even backs up several of the songs. New arrangements, such as on “Sing Child,” are also refreshing and exciting surprises. For their encores, the sisters keep no secrets about bands that influenced them like the Who and Pink Floyd, and particularly show their enthusiasm for Led Zeppelin. Few musicians can remotely sing or play like Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, but Ann and Nancy Wilson go shot-for-shot on “Black Dog” and “Misty Mountain Hop.” Dreamboat Annie Live, also available on DVD, clearly shows the heart of rock and roll is still beating — with the life force of Ann and Nancy Wilson thriving in its veins.

~ Merryl Lentz

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