Back in the late eighties, when I lived in San Francisco, The Bangles were playing the Warfield, within walking distance (albeit a scary after-dark walking distance through the Tenderloin) from my apartment. But for various reasons, I didn't attend. I figured I'd have another chance in the future. Soon after that, the band broke up.
Twenty years later, I finally had my chance. Last night, Amy and I saw The Bangles, who shared a bill with a band I listened to throughout the seventies and eighties, Washington State's own Heart.
We tremendously enjoyed both bands. The Bangles look amazing when one considers they first hit the charts 25 years ago; and they sounded great (although they were a little rough on their opener, their cover of "Hazy Shade of Winter"). Their beautiful harmonies and crunchy-guitar-heavy melodic rock was as fun as it was when I was listening to it on cassettes in the eighties. One annoying event: Midway through, a guy behind us yelled, "Play 'Walk Like an Egyptian!'" Which is just plain rude, because (a) it implies every other song they were playing wasn't worth listening to and (b) obviously, they were going to play that song eventually -- as they did, at the end of their set.
Then came the Wilson sisters. The Bangles were great, but Heart is just in another league, both musically and in terms of show-person-ship. At an age where many rock vocalists are starting to lose their pipes, Anne Wilson can still deliver a full-souled chorus. Not only did they sing several of the band's hits, they also did two Led Zeppelin covers (included the throat-tearer "Immigrant Song") and The Who's "Love, Reign O'er Me" (another voice-devastating song).
Once in a while, I have to go to shows like this to remind me why I like rock music.