Heart’s Ann Wilson brings solo tour to Belly Up Aspen
If You Go …
Who: Ann Wilson of Heart
Where: Belly Up Aspen
When: Tuesday, March 14, 9 p.m.
How much: $95/general admission; $230/reserved seats
Tickets: Belly Up box office; www.bellyupaspen.com
When Heart finished its massive tour with Cheap Trick and Joan Jett last year — a run that included a sold-out Red Rocks show — Ann Wilson, her sister Nancy, and the rest of the trailblazing Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band decided to take Heart off the road for a while.
Now Ann Wilson is back with an intimate show of her own that comes to Belly Up tonight, offering a different spin on Heart classics like “Crazy on You,” “Magic Man” and “Barracuda” and some more adventuresome material.
“It’s going to be done in my way,” Wilson said from Florida before heading out on her 20-stop spring tour. “That is, we’re going to be free to do the songs however we want. We’ll also do some of the new songs. And we’re going to do some amazing covers that you won’t even believe what you’re hearing.”
The “cool, vicious band” she’s bringing with her includes Craig Bartock, who has been playing with Heart since 2004.
While the mandate of a Heart tour is to fill big arenas with sing-along-ready renditions of the big hits, going out on the road alone is a chance for the powerhouse soprano to experiment more with the iconic rock band’s catalog.
“There are more expectations on me to create it the way that Heart has always sounded, which is a good thing,” she said of touring with Heart. “With the ‘Ann Wilson of Heart’ thing, I can do other kinds of songs, I can take the Heart songs and stretch them out a lot creatively. … It’s not going to be a copy of Heart. It’s just my thing. The songs will have meaning, they’ll have a message, they’re fun.”
In the more than four decades since Heart’s groundbreaking debut, a generation of singers has tried to be Ann Wilson and emulated Heart’s take on harmonic hard rock. But she is often disappointed in what she hears from today’s young singers and the cookie-cutter effect of televised singing competitions.
“Ultimately you’ve got to sound your own way,” she said. “I listen to so many singers coming out now, they all sound the same — like they were on ‘The Voice’ or ‘America’s Got Talent’ or something. It’s this singular way of singing. I think people can reach out farther than that.”
In recent years, Wilson has released two solo EPs as The Ann Wilson Thing! and is working on a third — the project includes original songs along with inventive covers of classic rock standards like Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression.” A third solo record is in the works, Wilson said. And after a career in which Wilson has done seemingly everything any aspiring rock star could dream of, she’s excited about the year of solo touring ahead. With some 80 concerts in total on the calendar, it’s the biggest challenge she’s taken on as a solo artist.
“That’s a really big triumph for me personally and for the band,” she said.
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