Concert Review: Heart with Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience at the Molson Amphitheatre
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more satisfying show for drum or guitar lovers than Tuesday night’s Molson Amphitheatre double bill of Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience and newly minted Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, Heart.
Drummers in the audience were surely blown away by Bonham’s frantic hands as he anchored what is probably the best Zeppelin tribute band going. He worked plenty hard to prove himself as more than just a legacy kid living in the shadow of his dad, former Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. The eight-song endeavor, which included covers of Zeppelin staples like “Black Dog” and “Houses of the Holy,” plus other classic rock homages, certainly didn’t overstay its welcome — if anything, the crowd was happy to keep them out there longer.
Once Bonham ceded the stage to sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson — the sisters behind Heart — and the rest of the backing band, it was time for the guitar lovers to sit up and take notice. All of the classic Heart guitar riffs were on display, from the set-opening introductory strands of “Barracuda” to the explosive strumming that leads into “Crazy on You.” By the time the Wilsons were rejoined on stage by Bonham and company for six combined tracks — including “Battle of Evermore” and, of course, a show-closing “Stairway to Heaven” — the merging of musical energies had reached a fever pitch.
This was hardly new ground for Heart, one of rock’s preeminent “oh yeah, I forgot this was their song” bands. The sisters regularly surround themselves with plenty of capable support when touring. They visited the Amp last summer alongside fellow ’70s rock outfits Journey and Foreigner, stealing the show as openers. This time around, Bonham’s band provided a great complementary relationship.
Those among the 11,000 in attendance who were there to see Heart still got their fill. On top of “Barracuda” and “Crazy On You,” the band cranked out favourites like “What About Love,” “These Dreams” and “Alone,” with the latter showcasing Ann’s undiminished vocal prowess.
There may be other Amp shows this summer that will beat last night’s show in terms of spectacle (Kiss), crowd attendance (Mumford & Sons) and iconic star power (Sammy Hagar), but it won’t be easy to find another performance more musically pleasing from start to finish.