When we went to see Journey at the Woodlands Pavilion a couple of summers ago, we expected an evening of stout classic-rock anthems with a side of arena cheese. That's exactly what we got...from openers Heart. In fact, if Journey hadn't rallied late with an epic "Don't Stop Believin'," the Seattle band steered by the Wilson sisters since the mid-'70s would have completely blown the Bay Area FM gods off the stage. True, we did have to endure "These Dreams" and an unusually anemic "Never," but it was more than worth it for "Crazy On You," a wicked "Straight On" and a breathtaking cover of The Who's "Love Reign Oer Me." Ann Wilson still has the voice of a Valkyrie, sister Nancy has yet to get her due as a gifted guitarist and the dudes in the band form a solid, bluesy base that doesn't sand off any sharp edges. Awarding Heart's first album in six years, Red Velvet Car, three and a half out of four stars back in August, the L.A. Times said, "rare is the band doing work this good at such an advanced age." We can testify to that.
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