By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Venue: Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa-September 22, 2016–Rock Hall Three for All Tour–Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, and Heart
In the Spring I saw an advertisement noting Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, and Heart were coming to the Mid-Florida Amphitheatre, Tampa, in September. All three bands are Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees and I could hardly contain myself. It was even better when Groupon offered reduced fare tickets to the public.
So the day arrived on September 22, 2016, which happened to be Joan Jett’s birthday, rumor had it. Even though it is technically the Fall season, it was hot, humid, and everybody was complaining about the heat. It felt like July (that’s climate change for you).
As Cheap Trick was about to hit the stage, my mind couldn’t help go back in time to my teen years in the late-70s when I remember Cheap Trick was going to perform in little ol’ Fort Pierce, Florida. The ticket price was $2. Nobody knew about them at the time and they had just come out with “I Want You to Want Me”. I, of course, couldn’t wait to see them, and was totally psyched until low and behold, the gig was canceled.
Finally, the moment had arrived. Robin Zander, who actually lives in Tampa Bay, was dressed in black jeans, a short white coat, and a straw top hat. He is still blessed with shoulder length locks and still makes the ladies swoon. Rick Nielsen was wearing his typical black baseball cap, black suit, and donned checkerboard print accessories. After each song, it seems, he changed out guitars, which were often colorful and whimsical. The guys still put on a great show of real rock and roll. Song highlights included ‘Surrender” and “The Flame”.
Next up was Joan Jett, who appeared in sleek, form-fitting pants and a sleeveless top which showed off her toned arms. She sounded every bit as good as in her youth, got the audience going with call and response “Oh yeah”, and jammed down on “Do You Wanna’ Touch Me.” She played other favorites like “Cherry Bomb”, “Bad Reputation”, and of course “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”. A highlight of the evening was when Cheap Trick, Ann and Nancy Wilson, and the entire tour crew came on stage to celebrate Joan Jett’s birthday. Even at age 58, she still looked like a beautiful bad ass mama who could punch you in the face at a moment’s notice.
Finally, Heart took the stage. Ann Wilson’s voice is in my Top 5 of favorite women artists. Nancy was wearing a dark blue mesh dress and her blond locks were long and flowing. She moved and posed with the guitar while Ann belted out hit after hit like “Magic Man” and “Barracuda.” Their harmonies are always stunning, especially on “These Dreams” which took me back to the 1980s when life was carefree and the future was looking so bright I had to wear shades. Their encore included Led Zeppelin favorites “Immigrant Song” and “Stairway to Heaven”.
The evening took me back to my youth and it was wonderful to see pioneering women in rock all together on the stage. I have always looked up to Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson, and Joan Jett, who paved the way for a lot of young women today. The last gig is West Palm Beach so if you live down there, go see the show!
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