Monday, February 14, 2011
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: HEART - NIGHT AT SKY CHURCH
Something truly unexpected has been happening the past couple of weeks. Beginning on January 28th in St. John's, classic rock favourites Heart have been working their way across the country, in what's billed as a homecoming tour of Canada. The band does have Canadian roots, as the Wilson Sisters did live and work in Vancouver when they started out, although they are long-time Seattle residents. As each show has taken place, the reviews have been near-unanimous in their praise. At first, I thought it was local hype, and a bit of nostalgia, but it's kept on happening, including one post from a reputable source, who after the Massey Hall show in Toronto called in "the best concert he's ever seen".
Hmm. I don't quite know why this boomer group would all of a sudden get a second period of love, except that it seems everyone does in today's climate. Andy Warhol was wrong. You get your first 15 minutes of fame, and then a second go around 30 years later. It's Heart's turn. If you're not convinced yet, or want to relive that show you just saw, there's a new DVD on the stands, featuring a 2010 show. Night At Sky Church is a 90-minute set that sees a mix of the group's biggest, plus a helping of last year's successful Red Velvet Car disc, their first Top Ten album in years. In the concert, Ann and Nancy and current anonymous members manage to give those tracks enough life to suggest they still matter as working artists, which is pretty hard these days. Most stadium-name rock acts have pretty much switched to a greatest hits formula.
Part of the interest on the DVD is special guest Alison Krauss, who provides fiddle and cool, plus an excellent lead vocal on These Dreams. There's also Red Velvet Car producer and Canuck Ben Mink, the former creative partner of k.d. lang. It seems Canada just brings Heart good luck. But like most concert DVD's, it's not a match for an actual live experience. They aren't the most dynamic visual group, even with the sisters pulling out harmonicas and flutes and autoharps and such. Despite a good number of hits through the 70's and 80's, including Magic Man, What About Love, Magic Man and Barricuda, there are still a few filler tracks, where they show their sub-Zeppelin side. It's still Heart folks, they had a few good ones, let's not get carried away in the nostalgia. But speaking of tracks, where's Dreamboat Annie? Sheesh.
So, the tour continues out west, now making the Winnipeg to Vancouver run until the end of the month. While it may not be your particular concert of a lifetime, it does sound like Heart are putting on a solid, professional show, and that's certainly what you get on this DVD as well.