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In a nostalgia-filled night, Joan Jett catered to her long time fans. Overall, Joan Jett was OK to see, as she lacked much of the punk energy and rebellious spirit that brought her acclaim in the '80s.
Live At Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, FL, March 20, 2013
UG Team, on april 01, 2013 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Do you remember "I Love Rock N' Roll"? You, know. That song we all learned when we were infants in the guitar world. That riff, so easy to play, yet it packed a punch to go along with that famous name that made you feel on top of the world, knowing you could now play one of the most famous, if not well known songs of the '80s. Yes, that song, more than any other, shaped the career of Joan Jett (andThe Blackhearts). Of course, there were the litany of hits, like "Bad Reputation", that gained Joan Jett and The Blackhearts many fans, but in the end, it all came back to "I Love Rock N' Roll". Or at least, that was for them to disprove as I entered the building.
The setlist was:
01. Bad Reputation
02. Cherry Bomb (The Runaways cover)
03. Do You Wanna Touch Me (Gary Glitter cover)
04. Victim Of Circumstance
05. You Drive Me Wild (The Runaways cover)
06. Make It Back
07. Love Is Pain
09. Hard to Grow Up
12. Reality Mentality
13. I Love Rock 'n' Roll (The Arrows cover)
14. Crimson & Clover (Tommy James & The Shondells cover)
15. I Hate Myself For Loving You
16. A.C.D.C (Sweet cover)
17. 100 Feet Away
18. Everyday People (Sly & The Family Stone cover)
In the end, no song that Joan Jett and The Blackhearts played could compare to the star power of her #1 hit. However, this wasn't because "I Love Rock N' Roll" is far and away the best song she's ever written (or covered). It was because Joan, fairly or not, lacks the same grit and got-something-to-prove attitude that made her famous thirty some odd years ago. She relied mainly on nostalgia to Drive the concert. This suited her die-hard fans, of which there were many n the audience. However, to many casual fans, such as me, it didn't meet expectations. Granted, my expectations weren't based around a 54-year-old rocker, though I see no problem holding her to the same level as everyone else.
Presence wise, she still used many of the same moves as she did in the '80s. The problem was that she didn't go over the top with her jumping and the like. Her demeanor was much more restricted than videos I have seen of her from the '80s. To put it plainly, the look on her face didn't reflect the punk-blues-rock that she represents.
Her younger lead guitarist had more stage presence but his signature move was one where he held his guitar aloft, with the back facing the crowd, something I didn't like because I like watching guitarists when they solo, even with something as simplistic as a Joan Jett song. He genuinely looked like he was having a good time, though I think that his movements were more subdued than they could have been, possibly in order to allow Joan to say as the center of attention, though I doubt this.
Sound wise, I couldn't notice any mistakes from the band. The lead guitarist's tone was very tinny with too much treble, hardly cutting through the mix. This problem lessened throughout the night and by the last song, there was virtually nothing to complain about. The same goes for the rest of the band in that their performance got better as the night went on, with Joan getting more energy and the lead guitarist, Dougie Needles, I think, doing an Angus like duck walk.
Vocally, Joan is still very strong. Her pitch was always spot on and she wasn't strained in reaching it. She also still had a nice bag of expletives at her exposure, one of her only rebellious acts of the night it seemed. But, while this act was nice to see, it didn't seem right when mixed in with the rest of her performance; she still seemed 54 years old. // 8
Perfomance: The band as a whole put on an average, maybe slightly better, show. In terms of energy, the band seemed to be restrained to whatever level Joan had decided to be on. For most of the show, this level was very average, except on a couple of songs, like "Reality Mentality", where she took it to another level. The lead guitarist, as I have noted, didn't do an incredible amount except his signature move during his guitar solos.
As a lesson to all of us, Joan announced the song names before she played them, taking extra care with the new, unreleased ones. In my opinion, this is a good lesson to budding musicians because listeners usually like to be able to pin a name to what they're hearing. More importantly, it alerts the listener to buy the new album if they liked a specific song from it. I will just say the obvious that I wouldn't want to buy the new album if I didn't have a favorite song from it that she played.
I don't know if this should be attributed to performance, but the drummer was usually playing fairly interesting beats between the songs while Joan was talking. This felt like another good stage tactic, but I was always disappointed that the beat of the following song was the same old boring thing. I wish that Joan would write songs that incorporated some of these interesting beats in order to differentiate her songs more and just make them cooler.
Another notable thing was the lighting rig she used. It was fairly light on lights (I had to say that). There weren't any dramatic effects, but the interesting thing was that there weren't any LED lights. The lights were old fashioned to the point that each light could only show one color. If anyone actually noticed, this added to the nostalgia of the night.
As a last note, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts didn't have many special moments in the songs where they would drag them out for effect. This was punctuated by the end of the night when she ended the song like normal, gave a thank-you, then just left the stage. No spectacular ending. Just another night. Another gig over with for this seemingly bar-like band. // 6
Overall Impression: In a nostalgia-filled night, Joan Jett catered to her long time fans with her standard hits and some fun, new songs. Overall, Joan Jett was OK to see, as she lacked much of the punk energy and rebellious spirit that brought her acclaim in the '80s. My favorite two songs were "Reality Mentality" and "I Hate Myself For Loving You". Sincerely, these songs actually sounded better because they had more energy, a lesson Joan and everyone else could learn. The show took place at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, FL on March 20th, 2013. // 7