Original title: Heart: Soundstage - Live
Director: Joe Thomas
Cast and Crew: Ann Wilson - vocals, guitar, flute, Nancy Wilson - acoustic and electric guitar, vocals, Craig Bartoc - lead guitar, Debbie Shair - keyboards, Mike Inez - bass, Ben Smith - drums
No roster of durable rock veterans would be complete without Ann and Nancy Wilson, the sisters who have fronted the band Heart for nearly forty years. The sisters may not have founded the band, but they quickly became its public face, and Ann's smoking vocals defined its sound, even as its musical format shifted with changing times. Their performing style and their song-writing talents provided definitive proof, as Janis Joplin had before them and Chrissie Hynde would shortly join them in doing, that a woman could rock as hard, as dirty and as unreservedly as any man. They sang about losing their virginity, having one-night stands and raising children on their own without apology, and Ann's tough delivery brought to the lyrics a distinctive mixture of relish and regret that made the songs memorably ambivalent. But they could also write delicate ballads, which Nancy often sang. One of their biggest hits remains 1978's gentle duet, "Dog and Butterfly".
When Heart first gained U.S. attention with singles like "Magic Man" and "Barracuda", everyone thought the band was Canadian. In fact, all the original members were American, including the Wilson sisters, but the band worked in Canada throughout the 1970s after a founding member fled there to avoid being drafted and sent to Vietnam. Even while in Canada, Heart received attention at home, but its reputation soared after the general amnesty by President Carter allowed everyone to return home in 1977. By 1980, it had achieved a string of hit singles and two double platinum albums.
Heart's fortunes declined in the Eighties, a victim of personnel changes and the vagaries of taste. So the Wilson sisters changed with the times, reworking their style into power ballads like "Alone" and heavy metal-inflected rockers like "If Looks Could Kill". Just in time to help them out, MTV appeared, where the Wilson sisters' looks did kill, especially Nancy's, whose aggressive and erotically charged style of guitar playing was not only camera friendly but an instant hit with the channel's male audience, which kept the video for "Never" at number one week after week. Today I look at the band's album covers from this era and can't help but laugh at the big hair and circus performer outfits—but the musicianship never flagged.
By the Nineties, the sisters began pursuing separate projects, although they continued to work together with Heart. In part, this reflected Nancy's increasing involvement in the film work of her (now former) husband, Cameron Crowe, for whom she scored Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky and Elizabethtown. (They also raised a family.) But in 2002 Heart resumed touring, and in 2004 the band released Jupiter's Darling, its first studio album in over ten years.
It was at this point that Heart was invited to perform for Soundstage, the concert series presented on PBS by Chicago's local station, WTTW, in partnership with HD Ready, LLC. The two-hour concert was first broadcast in two parts on July 28 and August 4, 2005. Koch Vision released the concert on DVD in 2008, and Image has now released it on Blu-ray.
Part 1 (July 28, 2005 broadcast)
02. Kick It Out
03. Straight On
04. Oldest Story In The World
05. Perfect Goodbye
06. These Dreams
07. Battle Of Evermore
08. Love Song
09. Lost Angel
10. Magic Man
11. Crazy On You
Part 2 (Aug. 4, 2005 broadcast)
12. Bebe Le Strange
13. Fallen Ones
14. Make Me
15. Even It Up
16. Dog And Butterfly
19. Love Alive
22. Black Dog
23. Misty Mountain Hop
Production: US | Image Entertainment