Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Date: June 16, 2017
Location: The Greek Theater, Los Angeles
This concert occurred the day before my birthday so this in essence is my birthday present to myself. I took the day off work which prompted me to arrive early to the venue to buy a ticket. Settled in, I surveyed the venue as The Foo Fighters music blasted through the speakers. Surprisingly the seats around me stood empty through most of the night. Part of me hoped these individuals wouldn’t come, but they did a few minutes before Boston hit the stage. I could not believe they would miss Joan Jett and only see Boston. Heck, the reason I attended the concert is to see Joan Jett live in person. I’ve been a fan of hers since I first became exposed to her hits Bad Reputation and I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll back in high school. The stage had been set up for Joan Jett & The Blackhearts with the drum set ready to go while white outlined hearts graced the stage.
As I waited in my seat a large bang came from the stage that startled not only me but everyone in the crowd. The lights suddenly dimmed as Joan Jett & The Blackhearts came running on stage. The band were about 10 minutes late in starting which caused them to rush through their setlist. At the end they made it through their setlist which might have caused Joan Jett limited interactions with the audience. All members of The Blackhearts – Dougie Needles (lead guitar), Thommy Price (drums), and Hal Selzer (bass) – wore all black (T-shirts, tank tops, pants, and shoes) matching the decor of their instruments. The woman of the hour, Joan Jett, dressed similarly all in black including a leather jacket. After a few songs Jett took the jacket off giving her the freedom to move around freely.
Once set up, the band played the first night of the evening which happened to be a personal favorite of mine. “The police were waitin’ when the sun came up, You better move your ass, Or we’ll really get rough” Victim of Circumstance is one of the first songs of hers I became exposed to her back in high school. A friend of mine back then created a mixed CD composed of female rocker songs that included this song. Memories of high school and simpler times engulfed me as it’s been years since I’ve heard of the song. She followed up with an explosive rendition of her first band’s hit Cherry Bomb. Joan Jett received her start as being part of the all girl rock band The Runaways back in the 1970’s. Cherry Bomb is the bands biggest hit they released during the five years they were active. Since disbanding in 1979 Joan Jett has been actively creating music and touring continuously. After an energetic performance of Do You Wanna Touch Me which had the crowd shouting “Yeah oh yeah,” she proceeded to play one of her best known songs; Bad Reputation. Video clips of the music video played behind the band as they jammed out to hit song. This easily is one of my favorite rock songs that I can listen to on repeat without getting tired of it. She followed up with a more personal song of hers as she played You Drive Me Wild. To introduce the song Joan Jett explained that years ago she called Los Angeles home when she was starting up her career. While living here she wrote her first song while a part of The Runaways, this song.
A song I never thought I would hear live played next that night. Love Is All Around is the theme song of the revolutionary TV sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore show which aired for seven seasons in the 1970s. Her introduction for this song was abit odd as she stated she is not going to dive into the explanation of the song and just play it. Her two biggest hits of the night followed next which caused everybody in the venue to stand up on their feet. I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll, always the crowd pleasure, blew away one away. The song is so much powerful once heard live in person. Then taking things in a different direction Crimson & Clover proved an emotion element to the night. One could hear Joan Jett pour her heart and soul in this song which touched me as she’s so powerful in displaying emotions. Ending the night with Everyday People, she and The Blackhearts ran off the stage ending their fantastic setlist.
As they left the stage I still could believe that I saw one of my favorite female rockers live in person! As I waited for Boston the venue started to become crowded as people finally started to take their seats. Boston are currently on their Hyper Space tour which began only three days prior. For those familiar with the bands cover art know that they have a continuously theme of a spaceship in the shape of a guitar. Hence it makes sense why they called their tour Hyper Space. The whole stage had been set up to resemble a space operation center with the screen projecting stars, planets, suns, among other space imagery. Boston – Beth Cohen, Tommy DeCarlo, Tracy Ferrie, Gary Pihl, Tom Scholz, and Curly Smith – zoomed into warp speed as they blasted off with Rock & Roll Band. Stand out performances for me included the tracks off their self titled debut album; Peace of Mind, Long Time, and Smokin’. Of course the highlight of the night is when they played More Than A Feeling. Nowadays I can’t help but associate the track with the Pixar film “Inside Out” (even though I’ve heard it years before the film was released). That infectious chorus riff always reminds me of a simpler time back in the day just as the lyrics speak of.
Most of Boston songs that night were new to me as I’m only familiar with the songs off their first album. I loved hit after hit that they played as this became by introduction to them. The most beautiful song of the evening is the live performance of Hollyann. The visuals included a trip through a trail filled with stunning trees of purple leaves as we journeyed to a distant castle. Tommy DeCarlo’s charming vocals added emotional depth to the track as we continued through the journey. The visual stunning moment of the evening occurred during the lighting guitar effects of Whole Lotta Love. Tom Scholz and Tracy Ferrie ripped through their guitars in the pitch dark for their solos. Every time they played the guitar their instruments would light up giving the illusion of lighting effects. Playing back and forth between one another the light constantly moved left to right in a rapid fire movement. As far as Led Zeppelin cover songs go, this is certainly a memorable performance of this song. Beth Cohen, rhythm guitarist and keyboardist, had two solo performances that displayed her strong vocal strengthen. She stunned the audience during her time in the spotlight. Tom Scholz – the last founding member of Boston still part of the band – stole the show. His guitar playing is impeccable as he shined through especially during his “E” Jam Instrumental solo. He is a sight to behold as performs with such an intensity of passion. As the evening winded down I left the venue on an enjoyable note. Boston and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts exceeded my exceptions I had for them, especially Boston. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to embark on this hyper space journey with these two amazing bands.
1. Rock & Roll Band
2. Feelin’ Satisfied
4. Peace Of Mind
5. Cool The Engines
6. We’re Ready
8. Don’t Be Afraid
9. Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin cover)
10. I Think I Like It
11. Don’t Look Back
12. Something About You
14. The Launch
16. More Than A Feeling
17. “E” Jam
18. The Journey
19. To Be A Man
20. Walk On
21. Foreplay/Long Time
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts Setlist
1. Victim of Circumstance
2. Cherry Bomb (The Runaways cover)
3. Do You Wanna Touch Me (Gary Glitter cover)
4. Bad Reputation
5. You Drive me Wild (The Runaways cover)
6. Light of Day (Bruce Springsteen cover)
7. Love Is Pain
8. Love Is All Around (Sonny Curtis cover)
9. I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll (The Arrows cover)
10. Crimson & Clover (Tommy James & the Shondells cover)
11. I Hate Myself For Loving You
12. Everyday People (Sly & The Family Stone cover)
- 3rd concert at The Greek Theater.
- 1st time seeing Boston and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.
- Last concert as a 25 year old.