Opening Acts: Joan Jett, Cheap Trick
Date: July 30th 2016
The first thing that has to be noted about last Saturdays gig at Bethel Woods is the RAIN, Yes, it is in capitals to stress how much it really did rain seemingly non-stop. I knew we were at the site of the original Woodstock festival and maybe some people had some sort of romantic idea that it SHOULD be raining, and a mud bath-not this guy! I hated it, i was moaning the whole way up to Bethel “this is ridiculous”, “bloody rain” etc. etc.
Upon arrival and visiting Will Call i made my way inside the venue grounds and lo and behold- it stopped! Thank Jaysus! It stopped……kind of, sort of. It stopped for a period, but it stopped and with that my mood suddenly lightened with the weather. I said to myself to stop being a whiny little git and just enjoy the fact that i am here at this great venue to see 3 rock n roll hall of famers on the same bill.
Cheap Trick opened proceedings around 7pm on a night that really any of them could have opened, they clearly still have passion for what they do as they played vigorously and like they were playing for the first time in their parents garage at home. They got the crowd going nicely, and the crowd was quite big all things considered (i’m looking at you mother nature). They played a few throwaway songs but the numbers that got everyone going where the ones we all know (and love) “Surrender”, “Dream Police”….the dream police! And of course, the etched into everyones brains “I want you, to want me” I want YOU to want ME…..I want you to….Ok, you get it, mass singalong and just as soon as they were on, they were off.
After a brief intermission rock legend Joan Jett and her band came on stage, the first thing you noticed about her is that she still looks (and sounds) pretty good, her voice is raspy and she still does justice to the songs. During her set there was a kind of collective eye roll when, after a long introduction, she announced they were going to play “a new one” cue the mass bathroom/beer breaks. She mentioned her old band the Runaways and played a couple of their tunes. “I love Rock n Roll” probably got the biggest reaction of her set (no surprise there). Also, “Crimson and Clover” sounded pretty excellent too. She played for around 50 minutes soon making room for the main event of Heart.
Heart memorably played Bethel Woods before and at that time incorporated a lot of Led Zeppelin tunes into their setlist to great effect, granted they were touring with The Jason Bonham experience at that time. This time around, after coming on stage at 9.20pm they stuck to mostly their own material, Ann and Nancy Wilson (collectively Nancy Wilson?!) opened with “Wild Child” a fitting tune after Joan Jett had played just before them. Ann Wilson belted out the tunes and sounded like a woman in her prime, i was played the Barracuda riff in my hear before they even played it such are the iconic status of some of their songs! There was a bit of filler unfortunately, a few tunes that in fairness they probably include in the setlist for people to visit the john or, again, get more beer (not me, just other people). Mass singalong (at least in my area) along with “Alone”- what a power-ballad that is, up there with GNR’s “Patience” and dare i say Extremes “More Than Words”!
The band came back on stage for their encore and closed out the show with 2 big time crowd pleasers, The aforementioned Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” and the timeless “Stairway To Heaven”. 2 very strong songs and enough to send us all on our way home into the rainy night (it was bucketing down again by the time the show was over). Pretty good show from all 3 bands, probably in the right order, though Joan Jett would also have done a nice job opening the night too. I’d give it a solid 3/5 and a solid 1/5 to the weather.