Sunday, September 12, 2004

Heart, With Anne McCue 

Off we went to FleetBoston Pavilion last evening to see Heart, with opening act Anne McCue.

Word to the wise: don't rely on a navigation system to get around Boston anywhere near the Big Dig. It gets very confused. The street layout changes daily, and it doesn't understand that when you're in the central artery tunnel you're not on the surface, and you can't take a right turn. A couple of times it told us "You have arrived," when we were deep underground. We ended up taking a tour of the tunnels, actually, including the Callahan and Ted Williams. It was rather distracting seeing our location map in the Ted Williams Tunnel. The little arrow representing us was moving along the white line, and the rest of the screen was a blue expanse representing the harbor. But eventually we made it.

The opening act was Anne McCue, of whom I had never heard, but with whom I was impressed. For the most part it was just her and one of her several guitars, both electric and acoustic, picking, strumming, slide. Folk, rock, blues, clear powerful voice, pretty good brief patter between tunes. She finished up with a Hendrix number (Machine Gun), and was joined onstage by Heart's bass and drum players. She's good.

Then came Heart. They've still got it. Hard rocking, amazing pipes, lots of energy. But they didn't hold my attention all the time. When they were kicking it out I was right there, but when they'd slow it down even a bit, I found my thoughts wandering.

"Geez, look at the turnbuckles holding this tent up. Glad it's not raining, it might blow in through that opening. Is that guy lighting a joint? When did Barracuda come out? I think we played it at middle school dances, so that would have been maybe 1977. I was 12 or 13, and they were in their 20's at least, so now maybe they're in their early 50's. My sister's that age. I wonder if she could rock out like that. Yeah, she probably could. If she played guitar. And sang. Hey, Ann kind of reminds me of Jack Black. He could probably do a good impression of her. I'm kind of hungry. Glad we ordered those fried clams ahead, because the line at the Clam Box was really long. But now I'm hungry again. Oh - they're rocking again. Cool."

At one point they gave a pitch for voter registration, which you could do there. This motivated a bunch of guys to start chanting "Four More Years, Four More Years!" But they chilled out fairly quickly when no one joined in. Then later when they introduced the band, unfortunately they let the bass player have the mike. "Just two things: Rock the Vote, and Fuck the Yankees!" He then pranced around a bit while giving the middle finger salute, in kind of a "Yeah, baby - I'm bad!" kind of way. Apparently there had just been too much hard-rocking estrogen floating around, and this little show of testosterone was all the boys oin the audience needed to start bellowing, "Yan-kees Suck, Yan-Kees Suck!" This went on longer than the Four More Years chant, but was in the exact same rhythm. They must be so proud of themselves, having mastered not one but two three-syllable phrases.

Anyway, they wrapped up their second encore (and can it really count as an encore, when it's clearly just part of the plan? They keep the stage lighting flashing, the crew changes out the guitars as soon as they leave the stage, and when they've come back and finished what they've decided to do, the house lights come back on and we're expected to leave. Shouldn't the encore(s) be based on audience response and demand?) with a couple of Led Zeppelin covers, which they were perfectly suited to and performed marvelously. Then came the battle of the parking lot and we were on our way home.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:54 AM