September 10, 2016
Billed as the “Rock Hall Three for All,” three iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee bands performed back-to-back on a beautiful September evening in Holmdel, NJ.
Impossible, you say? Not at the PNC Arts Center! Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, and Heart put on a show for the ages – and EVERY age was in attendance.
I must tell you that I have honestly never seen the lawn completely covered with fans as it was on that special evening. The night opened with Cheap Trick crooning “Hello There” and continuing with “California Man” followed by “She’s Tight.” The crowd loved the band’s energy and danced while they played almost non-stop. They rocked their hits “I Want You to Want Me” and “Dream Police” then slowed things a bit with my favorite Cheap Trick song, “The Flame” performed with so much emotion. They finished their one hour set with one of their most famous songs “Surrender.” This band has been playing their rock-n-roll/punk style music since 1973, but is sometimes not credited with all that they have contributed and accomplished. Thankfully, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame took notice and rewarded them.They are true rockers.
After a short break Joan Jett came out booming with “Bad Reputation” and rocked the house. We all sang along to “Cherry Bomb” and “Do You Wanna Touch Me.” She even threw in a new song, “TMI” along with Bruce Springsteen’s “Light of Day,” and of course her signature song “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The place was jam-packed with fans and seemed to swell even more with people enjoying every song Joan and the band belted out, including “Fake Friends.” She closed with a Tommy James & The Shondells’ cover “Crimson & Clover” and kept rocking with two encores. The first was “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” and a rendition of Sly & The Family Stone’s “Everyday People.”
At 58, Joan shows no signs of slowing down! It looked as if everyone in attendance stood for the entire second half of her act – loving every minute of her incredible energy. What a treat it was to see Joan in her element, totally comfortable on stage and with the crowd. She is so deserving of her Hall of Fame honor – it was a pleasure watching her do what she does best.
After a short break, Nancy and Ann Wilson came out to start the crowd up again with “Wild Child” – a Romeo’s Daughter cover, and then right into “Magic Man.” Ann’s emotional vocals on “These Dreams” while playing the mandolin, was brilliant. At 66 and 62, the Wilson sisters proved that they still have “it.” Nancy’s voice was pitch-perfect – as was Ann’s. It was an honor to be in the continued presence of Rock and Roll Royalty. They continued with hit after hit – “Even it Up,” Kick It Out,” and a soft, wrenching song called “Beautiful Broken.” They revved the show up again with “Crazy On You” and “Barracuda.” Two encore songs closed the show, both by Led Zeppelin, a personal band favorite of Ann’s. First was “Immigrant Song” and then their amazing tribute to the iconic band with “Stairway to Heaven.” Ann and Nancy had previously played both of these songs during the Kennedy Center Honors celebration of Led Zeppelin with both Robert Plant and Jimmy Page in attendance and in tears. Everyone was on their feet, swaying, feeling the emotion this song always conjures up, and singing every word. It was an incredible scene. Kudos to these two beautiful, hard working Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. Their fame did not come easy – especially coming on the rock music scene during the 1970’s when female rockers were discriminated against. But they proved, once again, that the stage and singing rock songs is certainly where they belong.