In Photos: Ann Wilson Live
As I walked in to the Rose Music Center to see Ann Wilson, I fully expected to hear a set of Heart hits. I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was going to be very, very wrong. Ann Wilson, along with her sister Nancy, are not only one of the best known sister acts, but are one of the best known musical duos in the last four decades of rock, who rose to stardom in the mid-seventies atop solid rock numbers like “Crazy On You” and “Magic Man”. Ann and Heart further sailed through the eighties scoring hits “Alone”, “Who Will You Run To” and “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You”. Ann also forever left her mark, and was the pinnacle of every prom and every other high school dance in 1984, pairing with Mike Reno of Loverboy and giving us the classic “Almost Paradise” from Footloose.
With no opening act, Ann and her band, Craig Bartock, also of Heart, on guitar, Andy Stoller, also of The Ann Wilson Thing, on bass, Denny Fongheiser, also of Heart, on Drums and Daniel Walker on keys, opened the show with a cover of The Who’s “The Real Me”. At no point did this cover, or any of the others we would eventually hear, sound like anything other than Ann Wilson, so much so that it could have been her own composition. The stuttering opening riff of “Barracuda” kicked off one of the best known, and earliest of Heart’s hits, and saw Ann’s throaty purrs turn into growling primal screams as she opened up and let loose, making this song sound current as opposed to being forty years old this year. Craig then pulled out a beautiful Taylor acoustic guitar and we were treated to a softer version of “Crazy On You”, preparing for another soft rocker “What About Love”. Next up was what Ann described as a blues number about being wide awake and here, “Fool No More”.