Heart, with the Wilson sisters, has been rocking away for about four decades. Their 2010 album release, Red Velvet Car, was a commercial success, reaching number 10 on the American album charts. It was a nice return to their hard rock/acoustic roots. They have now sold in excess of 35 million albums worldwide.
Heart brought their 2010 tour into their hometown of Seattle for a performance at the Experience Music Project, Seattle’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Museum, on March 5, 2010. The cameras were rolling as Heart performed material from all parts of their career. Night At Sky Church is a DVD chronicle of the concert. While I am reviewing the regular DVD, it has also been issued in the Blu-ray format.
The band was fronted, as usual, by lead vocalist Ann Wilson and guitarist Nancy Wilson. The rest of the current touring band consisted of guitarist Craig Bartock, keyboardist Debbie Shair, bassist Kristian Attard, and drummer Ben Smith. Alison Krauss was on hand for three tracks as a guest performer.
First the bad news; the band is not as tight as it has been in the past. The jam on the opening “Barracuda,” never really takes off and ultimately breaks down. The riffing on “Crazy On You” is a tad off kilter. There is little or no interaction with the audience, which would have added some personality to the performance. Having said that; this is a complete concert and not a compilation of live tracks, so you get what was actually performed, which includes the good and the bad. This type of live album has always been my preference.
On the other hand there is a lot to like about this performance. The DVD has a nice clarity and the camera angles present the concert in an attractive manner. The choice of material is strong and fits together well as it covers many of their hits, five tracks from their latest album, plus a few album tracks thrown in for good measure. The highlight of any Heart recording is Ann Wilson’s voice, which remains one of the best in rock/pop music history.
It’s always nice to hear Heart perform some of their classics. Here they shine on “Never,” “Straight On,” “These Dreams,” “What About Love,” “Alone,” and “Crazy On You.” It was also a wise decision to intersperse some of their recent material among the old, such as “Hey You,” “Red Velvet Car,” and “Sand.”
Alison Krauss guests, with vocals and fiddle, on “These Dreams,” “Safronia’s Mark,” and “Your Long Journey.” She proves to be a good match for the Wilson sisters.
Night At Sky Church presents the modern Heart well. There may be a few glitches along the way, but overall it is a well-paced and ultimately satisfying concert experience. It is sure to please the many fans of the band.