CD Reviews

Heart - 'Fanatic Live From Caesars Colosseum' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 07, 2014    
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Polarisation will become even more evident with this CD/DVD release.

I get the feeling that when it comes to Heart there are two schools of thought, those who are fans of their commercially successful 80s AOR period and the others that view that era as a bit of a sell-out and prefer the heavier material. I suspect that polarisation will become even more evident with this CD/DVD release as the various eras of the band are represented and comparison between the styles freely available.

The opening number 'Fanatic', the title track from their most recent studio album, is a raucous, modern and almost grungy affair where Nancy Wilson gets to show her guitar goddess status. I can't help but think the heaviness is a deliberate attempt to put some distance between the Wilson sisters and their big hair fair. Having read plenty of articles and interviews with them over recent times there appears to be reluctance on their behalf to acknowledge the enormity of that era when outside writers gave them a string of hits putting them very high on the AOR ladder as a consequence.

'Heartless' melds the old and the new effectively but it's the introduction of one of those massive hits, 'What About Love', which elevates proceedings. A string section joins the band and adds a nice touch to an already wonderful song. New songs 'Mashallah!' and '59 Crunch' get back to being grungy; the former is rather shouty for my taste while 'Even It Up' is fairly repetitive.

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Old school Heart fans will delight at the inclusion of 'Straight On' and 'Dog And Butterfly', the latter being one of the highlights on offer. It's a beautifully serene song driven by acoustic guitars. It really demonstrates Ann's vocal prowess and then when she and Nancy sing in tandem, it is glorious.

Of the new songs, 'Walking Good' is the most pleasing; it's also acoustic guitar based, sees the return of the string section and Nancy taking on lead vocals, a role she retains for the iconic 'These Dreams' which has to be one of the best arranged AOR songs ever. 'Alone' isn't far behind in terms of quality albeit it's a rearranged version without drums and electric guitars; Ann's delivery is supreme.

'Dear Old America' is another new track which has that modern feel that just doesn't seem to sit right with me. Fortunately they conclude with two of their early classic songs, 'Crazy On You' and 'Barracuda'.

They are consummate musicians and performers; I admire their need to keep producing new music and they'll not thank me for saying that I reckon Heart would clean up at the Box Office if they toured with a purely 80s show.

Gary Marshall

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