As Rock N Roll Books presses forward toward the Nov. 24 release of ‘Bohemian Rhapsodies: True And Authorized Tales By Queen Fans & Celebrities’, compiled by Robyn Dunford with Kelly Franco, and authorized by Queen, the publisher is excited to announce that among other legendary rockers contributing exclusive commentary in the form of everything from personal memories to thoughts on Freddie and Queen’s legacy (both in terms of its historical and continued relevance) on rock, legendary Heart singer Ann Wilson, Queen lead guitarist Brian May, Bad Company/Free/Queen vocalist Paul Rodgers, and living guitar legend Joe Satriani have all contributed exclusive commentary that will highlight the book’s back cover!
Two rock giants of the 1980s lumbered into town and played to a three-quarters full Vector Arena in Auckland. Although both bands had their biggest commercial success during the pastel decade, Heart had been cranking out hits since their 1976 debut album, Dreamboat Annie, spawned AOR friendly tracks like Crazy On You and Magic Man.
Of the two acts, it was Heart I was most interested in seeing, mainly because of their 70s output. The lights went down promptly at 8pm to the strains of Led Zeppelin and the band immediately kicked in with their version of Zeppelin’s Rock & Roll. The energy level was high and it stayed that way for Magic Man, even if the sound was a bit muddy, with Ann Wilson’s vocals getting lost in the mix from time to time.
By the third song, the sound problems had been sorted and it was into the 80s with the band’s comeback hit, 1985’s What About Love. From there, they chose a rarity, John Farnham’s You’re The Voice. The song was a huge hit for Farnham in ’86 and was released as a live single on iTunes by Heart a few years back, but they have rarely performed it since.
Then it was back to their own 80s hits with Nancy Wilson taking the lead vocals on These Dreams and Ann belting out the power ballad Alone. Their shortened set closed with a thrilling version of Crazy On You and the stinging rocker Barracuda.
When the band returned for an encore, they chose another Zeppelin cover, Going To California, and then wrapped things up with The Who’s Love Reign O’er Me. I would have liked to have heard a few more of Heart’s own tunes…Straight On, Heartless or Even It Up…but Ann Wilson has one of the best voices in rock and she obviously enjoys wrapping her lungs around some of the great classic rock tunes. After the band’s set, I felt like I had just heard Ann Wilson’s audition for Robert Plant’s spot in Led Zeppelin.
I’ve never been a big Def Leppard fan, and they did little to change my mind tonight. Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell took the stage at 9:30 and opened with the studio song from their new live album (I know that sounds ridiculous) called Undefeated. The guys looked in pretty good nick, especially Phil Collin who felt that wearing a shirt was optional tonight. The band rocked through a 15-song set of their greatest hits, wheeling out competent versions of fan favourites like Love Bites, Rocket and Animal.
They broke up the stadium rock with a brief acoustic set featuring Two Steps Behind and Bringing On The Heartbreak, before heading back to the generic riffing of Hysteria and Armageddon It. Joe Elliott is not the most charismatic front man or most gifted vocalist and he sounded a bit ragged on 1983’s Photograph. Vivian Campbell played a couple of tasty solos, particularly on Love Bites. Otherwise, there were no surprises. As usual, Pour Some Sugar On Me and Rock Of Ages closed the night.
So, two bands who haven’t been relevant in at least 20 years, still cranking out the hits. Of the two, it seemed like Heart was having the most fun, which is probably why they chose so many covers over their own songs, while Def Leppard seemed to be there simply to relive past glories.
Heart set list:
Rock & Roll
What About Love
You’re The Voice
Crazy On You
Going To California
Love Reign O’er Me
Def Leppard set list:
Let’s Get Rocked
Make Love Like A Man
Gods Of War
Two Steps Behind
Bringing On The Heartbreak
Pour Some Sugar On Me
Rock Of Ages