In their four decades rocking the planet, there isn’t too much Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Heart hasn’t done in their career. On June 29th, 2016, while on tour promoting their latest album, ‘Beautiful Broken,’ Heart achieved another milestone which had eluded them. They played the famed Royal Albert Hall in London and played for the first time with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The sold-out show was captured on video and released late last year as “Live At The Royal Albert Hall With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.”
The Wilson sister, Ann (vocals, guitar) and Nancy (vocals, guitar), are expertly backed by Ben Smith (drums); Dan Rothchild (bass); Craig Bartock (guitar); Chris Joyner (keyboards) and, of course, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nick Davies.
The show opens with an aggressive version of “Magic Man” to get the crowd up on their feet before Ann introduces The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the band breaks into a trippy version of “Heaven,” where Ann plays the harpsicord and Nancy plays her acoustic guitar with a violin bow like it was a cello. The orchestra really gives a depth to the Heart songs, especially the slower numbers like “Dreamboat Annie,” where Ann does a flute solo, and their smash hit “What About Love.”
Ann hands over the lead vocals to her sister for the ballads “Two” and “These Dreams.” Ann is known for her powerhouse vocal range, but Nancy can certainly hold her own as a lead vocalist with her sweet angelic range.
“Alone” gets a big roar from the crowd then Heart turns the amps back up and rocks the colorful Royal Albert Hall with “Beautiful Broken,” “Mashallah!” and “Crazy On You” before departing the stage. With the crowd on their feet at full throat Ann and Nancy come back to the stage for an acoustic song “Sand” and then the band comes back to the stage rocking Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter” and “Barracuda.” A second encore would find the band ending the night with “Kick It Out.”
For a band, which has been playing for more than four decades and the Wilson sister in their mid-60s, they sound as strong and as tight as they ever have. Ann and Nancy’s voices are strong, their passion is evident as they leave everything out on the stage and their interaction with the crowd is appreciative and humbling. These two women are a class act.