Heart was recently nominated again for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Ann and Nancy Wilson — the sisters at the heart of Heart — don’t need to lift a pinkie finger to justify their inclusion. But Tuesday night at the Orpheum Theatre, the duo made a compelling case for why it’s a shame they’ve not already graduated from nominees to inductees.
For 85 minutes, in front of a wildly enthusiastic crowd, Ann Wilson sang with the strength, tone, clarity, and passion she has possessed since the band debuted in the mid ’70s, and sister Nancy churned out the famed riffs that have made a clutch of Heart tunes staples of the classic rock canon.
Heart has always made strong local showings, but the Wilson sisters are clearly enjoying a sense of renewed vigor. In the last year, in addition to the Rock Hall nod, Heart has released the career retrospective box set “Strange Euphoria,” the memoir “Kicking and Dreaming,” and a strong new album, “Fanatic,” that harkens back to the hard rock of their early years.
The sisters — smiling and loose —
The crowd was supportive of the new material but erupted at the sound of vintage tracks like the parity-demanding “Even It Up” and the irresistibly tuneful “What About Love?” from their big-haired ’80s phase. “Alone,” the power ballad from that same period — stripped back to acoustic guitar and solemn organ — earned Ann a minutes-long ovation for her powerhouse vocals.
Those vocals remained in peak form during a thrilling final run of “Crazy on You,” “Barracuda,” “Magic Man,” and a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop.”
Superb Austin, Texas, singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo and his band the Sensitive Boys warmed up with a set of his smart and wry rockers including tunes from terrific new album “Big Station.”