Soundstage Presents: Heart Live

By the end of “Crazy on You”, you're crawling on the floor tossing your hair Lita Ford-style.


Soundstage Presents: Heart Live

Subtitle: Soundstage Presents: Heart Live
Label: Koch
US Release Date: 2008-08-05

There are some things which are absolutely certain, which will admit no disproof. One such definite is “I am” (thank you very much, Descartes). Others are death and taxes (thank you very much, Ben Franklin). The final, and perhaps most readily apparent, is that Heart rocks. Even the most pig-headed misogynist must admit that “Barracuda” lives in some rock Valhalla, right around the block from the entire Queen discography.

I defy you to find me a heart so hardened (pun excused) that by the end of “Crazy on You” its owner is not crawling on the floor tossing his hair Lita Ford-style. I certainly know that many of my summer nights ended with me in such a state at the various karaoke haunts of Pittsburgh.

It is no surprise, then, that when I saw that a recording of a new Heart concert was coming to DVD, I donned my Wilson sister XL t-shirt and nervously waited for the mail. I was briefly worried that, perhaps, age might diminish the awe-inspiring rock of Heart. Silly me. A few weeks later, Soundstage Presents: Heart Live arrived and Ann and Nancy laid any fears that graying hair could diminish their rock to rest. Well, truth be told, neither has gray hair, but the point stands.

Soundstage Presents: Heart Live showcases an incredible 24- song set from the perennially vibrant Wilson sisters and Co. The concert includes most of their notable hits, with the lone, and depressing, exception of “What About Love”. Covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” and “Misty Mountain Hop” are included as sure pleasers for classic rock enthusiasts, but I would have rather just heard more of Heart’s own catalogue. If nothing else, these covers prove the remarkable range of a band too often pigeon-holed as balladeers.

The recording quality is impressive and the DVD sounds as good as any studio outing. I can find no fault in Soundstage’s methods in producing the cleanest possible concert experience. None of the traditional pitfalls of low-light or diminished audio mar this gem.

However, a few songs in you will probably notice that something is not quite right. Somewhere between the Windows Media Player-style visualization projected behind the band and the absolutely insipid audience, Soundstage’s offering breaks down. Much like the disquiet one feels when they see a silverback in captivity, it seems as if Heart’s rock is some way impinged upon by the hyper-constructed Soundstage… soundstage.

It appears as if the company lured about a hundred folks who could care less about Heart to a concert with the promise of Crafts service and mild fame. The subtle head-nodding of a few individuals is the only thing that reassured me that the audience was not a cadre of straw men. Everyone is just too well-behaved for a rock concert.

Similarly, the fact that it occurs on a soundstage eliminates any hints of spontaneity. The entire appeal of live music is that anything could happen. Who knows what crazy antics the front man will engage in, who knows what covers might come out. Instead, Soundstage Presents: Heart Live presents a performance that is so intently put-together that spontaneity is suffocated. Two Zepp covers? It’s as if someone was reading from a “How to Put Together a Rock Show” manual.

In the end, none of these faults are really enough to hold me back from advocating this purchase. It’s impressive enough that Heart really is as good as their catalogue would suggest. I just wish I could see them in their native environment.

The special features are as predictable as the concert. An interview that asks about an artist’s inspiration, sigh. The Wilson sisters talk about the song-writing process and discovering themselves and all those nuggets that you weather just in the hope of hearing about some drug/sex misadventures. Unfortunately, no such Behind the Music here. Just more scripted content.


In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.