Album review: HEART – Fanatic Live From Caesars Colosseum

Ann Wilson chats about her career in the Songwriters series, Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sunday 23 March, 13:00 GMT.  More information

Heart - Fanatic Live From Caesars Colosseum

Frontiers Records (CD and DVD Deluxe Edition) [Release date 24.02.14]

Heart’s 15th studio album, Fanatic, released in October 2012 crowned the band’s renaissance in much the same way Now What?! did for Deep Purple in 2013.  Both releases underlining that the passing of the years/ decades doesn’t have to equate to an increasing reliance on distinguished back catalogues.

So, while the casual observer might question the release of yet another Heart live DVD / CD, Fanatic Live from Caesars Colosseum is in fact a welcome release – especially as the UK rarely gets the chance to witness the band in the flesh.  And certainly not in the provinces.

The Fanatic Live set is cropped for TV broadcast from the band’s North American 2012 leg of the promotional tour.  The gig was on 28th July 2012 in Windsor, Ontario, with ‘Magic Man’ and a cover of  ‘Who’s Love’ and ‘Reign O’er Me’ omitted, presumably on the basis of TV scheduling and CD running time but it’s nevertheless a terrific setlist.

As you’d expect the ‘greatest hits/ best of’ are all present and correct including ‘What About Love’, ‘Straight On’, ‘Dog & Butterfly’, ‘These Dreams’, ‘Alone’ (which gets the biggest reaction), ‘Crazy On You’, and the timeless ‘Barracuda’.

Fanatic, though, is well represented with five numbers plus ‘Headless’ and ‘Even It Up’ (from Magazine and Bebe Le Strange respectively) get a rare airing.  The only personal disappointment was the omission of the funky Prince like ‘Skin and Bones’ from Fanatic.  Interestingly 2010′s Red Velvet Car is completely bypassed (as is everything pre-Fanatic back as far as 1987).

Now, one of my all-time favourite rock DVDs is the magnificent Alive In Seattle and it’s scary to think this performance is a whole two decades later.  But Ann and Nancy Wilson aren’t a pair to go through the motions and Fanatic Live finds them, to use a well-worn cliché, ‘rolling back the years’ with a powerhouse performance.

Highlights?  Well the roll of honour has to go to their mid-eighties material – the string section-accompanied ‘What About Love’ raises goosebumps, the loose jam leading into ‘Straight On’ rocks, the stripped back ‘Dog and Butterfly’ is simply stunning, and it just doesn’t come any better than the pairing of ‘These Dreams’ and ‘Alone’.

As always with Heart, the DVD is beautifully shot and the uncluttered stage set looks marvellous bathed in cool blues and greens.  And Ann and Nancy look pretty foxy as well.  Oh, to see them live on these shores.   *****

Review by Pete Whalley

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