.@PlanetMosh reviews .@heartofficial – Fanatic Live From Caesars Colosseum out Feb 2014 on .@FrontiersRec
It could be argued that, with this career-spanning recorded-for-TV concert DVD, the 40-year career of Ann and Nancy Wilson has come something of a full circle. Not only has their most recent output – including the 2012 album from which this package takes its title – seen them re-introduce the acoustic-tinged gritty hard rock of early releases such as ‘Dreamboat Annie’ and ‘Dog And Butterfly’, but this particular live offering saw them return to the Canadian heartland where they enjoyed their initial success and where the sisters are still regarded as very much two of the country’s own.
Filmed on the final night of the first leg of the ‘Fanatic’ tour, ‘Live From Caesars Collosseum’ serves as very much the icing on the cake of a year that, it could be argued was Heart’s most successful year since the heady stadium-filling hair rock days of the late Eighties, with their best-selling album in nigh on two decades and induction into both the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. It is also not only a clear demonstration of where Heart’s career stands at the moment but also a fitting reminder of the band’s rich musical history and undoubted legacy.
Kicking off in hard rocking style with ‘Fanatic’ and ‘Heartless’ – the latter of which magnificently exhibits Ann’s still highly impressive power and range – before the introduction of a string section (led by producer/collaborator Ben Mink) heralds a passionate ‘What About Love?’, a song still capable of charming the knickers off a middle-aged rock chick in less than 12 bars, and re-invigorated with Craig Bartok’s shortened solo. Spanning virtually the band’s career – as highlighted by the back-to-back acoustics of ‘Dog And Butterfly’, ‘Walkin Good’ and ‘These Dreams’/’Alone’ (the latter even more majestic than when the band were in their heyday) at the midway point.
The Wilsons are, understandably, very much centre stage: Ann is commanding, both in terms of her presence and vocal performance – which at times, is darker and grittier than in the past, such as on ‘Even It Up’ and the duet ’59 Crunch’, but she is still more than capable of hitting the high notes with ease – while Nancy’s wet-dream-inducing writhing matches her sister for passion and commitment. That’s not to say that the band takes a back seat – certainly not musically: led by the highly impressive Bartok, the current incarnation of Heart are strong and accomplished musicians who perform the songs with a commitment to complement that of the two main protagonists.
Visually, it’s also very well-presented, with a simple stage set and understated but effective camera work, which is never intrusive but also draws you into the heart (sic) of the show, while the sound mix is clear and balanced, making this a nigh-on essential purchase for fans. Mind you, adding their amazing rendition of ‘Stairway To Heaven’, which literally had Robert plant crying with joy when they performed it at the Kennedy Center, would have been a pretty epic of making a great package complete!
Fanatic / Heartless / What About Love / Mashallah! / Even It Up / 59 Crunch / Straight On / Dog And Butterfly / Walking Good / These Dreams / Alone / Dear Old America / Crazy On You / Barracuda
‘Frantic Live From Caesars Collosseum’ is released via Frontiers Records on February 24th.