Ann Wilson of “Heart”- Anything but a Half-hearted Concert
Many of you may be wondering why a teenage boy like myself would feel inclined to attend and write a concert review for a singer that has been performing now for over 40 years. In a summer filled with chart topping musicians on tour such as Chance the Rapper, Kings of Leon, and Migos; what led me to this concert? While I wish I could tell you I was a huge Heart fan or follower of Ann Wilson, the honest truth is that I didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. In fact, I didn’t even know much about Heart going in other than that they sang the 70’s hit “Barracuda”. It is fair to say that I went into the concert with fairly low expectations but at the end of the day, I was impressed by the band’s overall sound and performance and learned a lesson about appreciating the greats.
To add some context for how I ended up at an Ann Wilson concert, I intern for a minor league baseball team in Florence. No, not in Florence Italy, but rather in the beautiful Florence Kentucky. While the main function of the Freedom’s facility is for baseball, they occasionally also host other functions such as concerts. This meant that not only did I attend the Ann Wilson concert but I actually worked it. More specifically, I assisted in constructing the concerts stage, setting up the seating, Ushering before the show and finally helping with tear down afterwards. Performing all of these tasks meant that I was at the facility pretty much all day leading up to the concert. Having to be there that long may seem like a pain but it did allow me to see how a concert is set up which was a pretty cool and unique experience
Despite our generation’s lack of knowledge of Ann Wilson and Heart, it can’t be overstated how influential and popular the band used to be. Often referred to as the leading group for female rock, Heart was extremely influential at opening the door for women into the Rock and Roll genre. Over their 40 years together, the group produced countless hit songs, sold over 35 million records, and was even inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. If you are over 40 years old, I would be shocked if you don’t know about Heart and if you are under 40, it is likely that your parents are big fans (my parents own multiple of their albums). The group has continued to churn out music even as recently as 2016 but is currently on hiatus due to some personal drama. For this reason, the lead singer Ann Wilson decided to go on a solo tour.
If the concert showed its age somewhere, it was with the fans. The average age of the people in attendance was probably in their 60’s and there were barely any college aged people to be found. As I helped people move to their seats, most informed me that they had been following the band’s music for a long time and have been to many concerts over the years. They would tell me about how incredible Ann Wilson is live and how she hasn’t lost any of her vocal strength with age. Despite all of the praise and positive reviews, the attendance was lackluster with many empty seats around the stadium left unfilled. . I was ready to write this concert off as a “snoozefest” for an artist on the downslide — A once great musician who was in their final lap. And I was set in that opinion until…
Ann Wilson opened her mouth to sing. In an instant it became clear how Ann Wilson has been able to accrue millions of fans and perform for over 40 years.
Her distinctly powerful and unique sound resonated through the stadium, impressing everyone with her vocal prowess. It is undeniable that there are no voices the same as Ann Wilson in the Music Industry today. She is a fearless performer, fully willing to risk missing some notes in return for being able to hit some incredible high notes. She opened her show with one of her softer songs “What about Love” and wowed the crowd with her timeless voice. Throughout the concert, I realize that there were a lot of songs that I knew, but had never attributed to Heart.
While her voice wasn’t perfect at times, for the most part she sounded just as good as in recordings. The fans at the venue were locked into the show the entire time, seemingly knowing the words to many of the songs. I would be lying if I said I could tell you that I knew all of the songs that she sang but she sang many of Heart’s biggest hits and I was surprised at the amount of songs I knew. At times there were signs that her voice seemed to show some wear over the years. Nonetheless, Ann Wilson captivated her audience and it was a joy to see such a legend perform. She performed for over 2 hours including three encores showing off the incredible variety of songs that she had written over the years. Her songs varied between rock, metal, pop, and even disco. By the end of the concert, it was clear to everyone in the stadium why she was considered a Rock and Roll legend.
To summarize my overall experience, the concert itself was generally solid (maybe a 7/10) but it was such honor to see such a legend perform. I don’t think I could recommend the concert series to someone my age but would tell Heart fans that Ann Wilson still has it. At its core, I think this show made me realize how important and cool it is to see artists in the back side of their career that have Whether or not you decide to go to the Ann Wilson show is up to you, but I would highly recommend you try to go to a concert from your parents age. A band that may not be around for too much longer. If nothing else, it should give you a new appreciation for what other generations listened too but it is likely that you will also have a lot of fun in the process!