Review: Heart at Symphony Hall, Birmingham

From their beginnings in the late seventies, Ann & Nancy Wilson, aka Heart, have been leading the way for female-fronted rock bands. In 2016, it is a little more common to see a female-fronted or fully female rock band all armed with guitars, but way back then it was almost unheard of. The ladies with the big voices, sass to match and guitar skills to rival all their male counterparts, burst onto the scene and produced some of the biggest rock songs and ballads out there.

I headed along to the final night of the rock band’s tour at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall to see if they’d still got it. 

From old favourites to teasing the loving audience with tracks from their new album, the band didn’t disappoint their fans, both young and old. 1970s hit ‘Magic Man’ alongside big rock love anthem ‘What About Love’ featured very early on in the set, with every word being sang back to the band. It was very clear from early on in the show that the band were having infinite levels of fun and enjoyment at being back on the stage in front of a sold out UK crowd, which had been true for the entire tour. They also promised their return very soon!

The band’s newest, and 16th (!) studio album, Beautiful Broken, sees its release this month, and from the teasers that were shared with the crowd, it’s clear that the band have poured their heart and soul into it. The title track has punk vibes, and as singer Ann described, is the tale of someone who is a little bit mad, like each one of us is. ‘Two’, written by Ne-Yo (not a collaboration we saw coming) is a beautiful slower song that sees Ann’s sister Nancy take the lead, and is the complete opposite of ‘Beautiful Broken’. The album is sure to have something for longtime fans and those just discovering the band.

Most bands save their biggest songs for their encore, but there was no waiting here. Most people would recognise ‘Alone’ as a big stadium rock anthem, but here the band stripped it back to basics and it became something even more haunting and a little bit emotional. Ann’s vocals, though already having been outstanding, reached a new level here and with the acoustics of the Symphony Hall it was the perfect combination. 

Closing with a trio of Led Zeppelin covers, Heart proved they’ve still got it and they’re as good as they always have been. Long may they continue.

Are you a fan of Heart? Let us know in the comments below!