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Published: 2008/03/27
by Jon Hochstat

Heart Dreamboat Annie Live

Shout! Factory

When I first read that Shout! Factory was starting a new DVD series called Legendary Albums Live, I was interested to see what album they’d choose for their first release. The kick-off for the series is Heart’s Dreamboat Annie, which was released in March of 1976 and contained the two songs that defined Heart as a power band: “Magic Man” and “Crazy on You.” Some people even dubbed the Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy, as “The Female Led Zeppelin” due to Ann’s powerful vocals, the heavy guitar riffs, and the all around tight sound that Heart had in the 1970s.

The DVD begins with interview footage of Ann and Nancy describing the beginnings of the band and their influences. According to Ann Wilson, if you were a female singer in the seventies, you were either a disco queen or a singer-songwriter. There were no female rock bands when Heart began. The interview footage has some interesting bits, but at 10 minutes, it’s a little too long. Who really wants to hear from the fan that has seen Heart 260 times since 1976 and traveled from New Jersey to Los Angeles for this April 17, 2007 concert?

For any of us old enough to remember hearing Heart on both AM and FM radio, the notion of recreating Dreamboat Annie live in its entirety thirty-plus years later seems a somewhat kitschy idea, as most people probably couldn’t name any of the titles from the album, aside from the two major hits. Don’t get me wrong, both “Magic Man” and “Crazy on You” are performed spot-on in this DVD. They both conjure up some great memories of summer in the 70s, but the rest of the performance just doesn’t do it for me, especially the three “Dreamboat Annie” interludes. Nevertheless, this is a very tight band that worked very hard to recreate something that had not been done in more than thirty years, and I respect that. Ann Wilson’s vocals have stood the test of time, but I just don’t see anyone being turned on, enlightened, or blown away by the non-hits that make up the remainder of the recording.

The encores to the show, including Heart’s own “Mistral Wind,” Pink Floyd’s “Goodbye Blue Sky,” Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” and “Misty Mountain Hop,” and The Who’s “Love Reign O’er me,” are hit and missbut mostly miss. The only two songs that really show Ann’s unique vocals and the band’s tightness are the two Led Zeppelin covers, as the other encores are just bad selections and/or average recreations of someone else’s music.

Shout! Factory’s idea to recreate legendary albums live is an excellent one, but I disagree with their decision to inaugurate the series with Dreamboat Annie Live. There just isn’t enough quality music on this DVD to justify the $20 price tag.

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