There are some bands that tour every year, while others like the Rolling Stones very rarely tour. If you live in the US then you’d say Heart fall into the first category, while those fans in Europe and the UK would say they’re in the latter category. It’s been 12 long years since Heart last played the UK and before that there was a 14 year gap between their trips to the UK. Finally though in June this year they finally played some UK dates including a special date at the Royal Albert Hall in London where they were joined on stage by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. As one of the lucky fans who attended the show, it was a great evening, and now it’s being released on DVD, BluRay and CD for the rest of their fans to enjoy.
The show featured songs from across their long career, from the early “Dreamboat Annie” to the title track of their latest album, “Beautiful broken”. The show starts with the band performing as normal before the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is brought out to join them for part of the set. One thing that was noticeable during the live performance was that the sound was pretty poor which meant that the orchestra wasn’t audible a lot of the time. In the CD/DVD though the sound mix is much better so the orchestra is more audible. It’s used beautifully in some places – “Alone” is a song where the orchestra really adds a lot, while in other songs it doesn’t add as much – I think to really get the maximum benefit would have taken weeks of rehearsals and a different setlist, but despite that limitation they do add to the show and give it something different to any of Heart’s other live releases.
It’s a long long time since I last saw Heart play live (in the late 80s), so this show was a real treat for me, and it was great to see that despite the long gap, Ann Wilson still has a fantastic voice and Nancy Wilson still rocks it on the guitar. Unsurprisingly given the fact they’re huge fans of Led Zeppelin, here in Led Zeps homeland they choose to play a cover, choosing to cover “No Quarter”.
The Royal Albert Hall is a fantastic venue for a live DVD – it really is a magnificent building so that adds to the special visual feel of it, and the orchestra adds the special element to the sound, and gives fans who already own several live DVDs from Heart a good reason to buy this one too.
The sound quality is excellent and the visual side is spot on too – a mix of camera angles including wide views, close-ups, audience views and more, and they’ve been edited together extremely well so changes all flow naturally (whereas some live DVDs are ruined by bad editing and too-rapid changes of camera angle).
Any fans who attended the show will want this DVD as a reminder of a great night, and other fans of Heart really need to see it too as the band playing with an orchestra isn’t something that’s likely to happen again soon. A great live release of a fantastic show.
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