Joan Jett and the Blackhearts Live (at Summerfest Brea) June 6, 2004

(With Special Guests: The Bone Daddies)

4 Stars... She's lost NOTHING!s4 Stars... She's lost NOTHING!s4 Stars... She's lost NOTHING!s4 Stars... She's lost NOTHING!s

I love myself for Loving Rock and Roll!

Boogeyman Critic!!!
J.C. Maçek III
The World's Greatest Critic!
Joan Jett... Photography by Dean Serra of bluzzone
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts!
Photographed by Dean Serra!
These "Free Concerts", man! You pay for 'em! Whether it's sitting through the Raffle of a Joe DiMaggio Poster signed by every player but Joe DiMaggio, or the constant letting-by of every third person with a saved seat and a thirst for Wine-Coolers, or the necessity for arriving dawn-of-time early to make sure you're not the first jackass hanging from a tree six blocks away hoping for a glimpse of the Jumbotron, Free Concerts aren't free! And I really mean that part about everyone bumping by you. I had more Tyler Durden Ass-Or-Crotch moments than I care to imagine. Look, if you're a fifty-five year old grandpa there's no need for Low-Rise jeans and a Half-Shirt, is there? Really?

I bitch like a Hush-Puppy without a Milkbone, but here's my point: Joan Jett was totally worth it! It's 2004 and she looks, sounds, plays and sings better than ever, and you can take that from a guy who saw her in Concert twice, once in the late 80's and once in the Early Nineties! If anything, Joan Jett has improved with Age, and is able to deliver one of the best rock shows out there.

Picture this, I (and Frank Harvey) arrived at Summerfest Brea in anticipation of something similar to Jett's previous tours. After a few minutes of waiting (yes, this seat is saved) the sound check began.
Joan Jett... Photography by Dean of bluzzone
Joan Loves Rock and Roll!
Photographed by Dean Serra!
It appeared to be driven by this cute 19-year-old girl with short black hair, a muscle shirt and Cargo Pants over black Chuck Taylors. When she slung on a beaten guitar that hung almost all the way down to her knees and approached the microphone with a signature "OW!" that's when we all realized... this was Joan Jett, still looking 19! Joan and the latest incarnation of The Blackhearts acted essentially as their own opening band handling the sound check themselves, not with a couple of hoots-and-hollers, but by playing actual full length songs (five of them by my count). Incredible.

Strangely, after this preview there actually was an opening band... The Bone Daddies! Let me tell you, there's nothing wrong with the Bone Daddies, but I haven't seen such a musical mismatch since Dave Grusin scored Sydney Pollack's The Firm! Billed as "World Music", the Bone Daddies (or is it... bonedaddies?) owe more to a sort of ska-inflected blues rock with enough percussion and Sax to round out the bill. The elements of "World Music" were there (especially in the lead guitarist's moo-moo), but the overall feel of the Bone Daddies reminds one of Charlie Musselwhite and his Continental Drifters. Were they any good! Oh, yeah. Consisting of a Sax Player, two guitarists, a lead singer, a drummer and an all-purpose percussionist, these guys delivered the goods.
Joan Jett... Photography by Dean of bluzzone
I need Good Music!
Photographed by Dean Serra!
Their downfall from perfection was the fact that a lot of their songs sounded the same, like Jimmy Buffett jamming with Carlos Santana and being backed up by a tribal African band with more lyrical self-reference than Bob Dole. This is good blues rock with a little worldly flavor, but it's not exactly diverse. Also, how they got teamed up to open for The Blackhearts is anyone's guess. Skipping from Ska-Blues to Hard Rock is a stiff proposition! If you're having a beach barbecue and Dick Dale isn't around, hire these guys! They did give me a hankerin' for a Margarita and a Cheeseburger in Paradise! And I'm a vegetarian! YYY

After more waiting, more requests for charitable donations, and (for me) an endless river of middle-aged asses in too-tight Wranglers, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts came to the stage with a Scream worthy of Roger Daltrey! She covered all of the bases with her patented style of Punk and Rock-a-Billy influenced Hard Rock sweeping over the crowd like the ubiquitous Flood Lights of the stage! What was really striking is the raw energy and passion that went into Jett's music as if not a moment had gone by since 1981's "I Love Rock N' Roll"! What was more amazing than that is that Jett's voice has never sounded better, nor has her guitar been more versatile and strong!

Joan Jett... Photography by Dean of bluzzone
Love is all Around no Need to Waste it!
Photographed by Dean Serra!
Now clad in skin-tight camouflage pants and her signature shiny black vinyl top, Joan sounded even better than my last exposure to her 13 years ago! She also looked incredible, healthy and strong. It's the music that mattered though, and it showed in the performance she gave. Jett is an incredible performer who (dare I cliché you) really does love rock and roll, and wants to give the best show possible!

Whoa, nelly did she succeed! Opening with the Intense Rocker "Cherry Bomb" Jett got the crowd into the music and had them shouting the lyrics along with her (something she didn't settle for less than Sonic on Gary Glitter's "Do you want to Touch Me (Oh Yeah)"). Naturally, like Peter Frampton two days before, Joan has a few numbers that can't be dispensed with.
Joan Jett... Photography by Dean of bluzzone
Just around the Corner...
Photographed by Dean Serra!
She was seamlessly able to incorporate "I Love Rock N' Roll" into the set to the screams and chants of the pleased crowd (many of whom probably thought that was her only song), as well as "I Hate Myself for Loving You" which bled off of Jett with attitude! "Light of Day" provided another aggressive sing-along for the real fans out there. The live version is tremendous!

No one does Covers quite like Joan Jett, and some of the best Concert Staples out there are songs that she's made her own. From Tommy James and the Shondells' "Crimson and Clover"'s tear jerking to Sly and the Family Stone's "Everyday People"'s message she had it nailed. A few more expected covers (like Jerry Lee Lewis' "Wild One") paved the way for a few surprises. Sure "Roadrunner" is a staple of hers, but the purely heavy metal version of the theme from The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a welcome surprise laugh and her excellent rendition of The Rocky Horror Show's "Science Fiction Double Feature" (both parts) was just perfect fun!

Here's the thing, though: while her concert repertoire was well handled, Joan Jett is by no means living in the past! Throwing on a number of great songs from her last few albums made me wonder why she's not still at the Chart Top! "Androgynous" is an excellent little ballad where Jett sets herself up as the Mr. Rogers of the kid cross-dressers! "Rubber & Glue" is a big F-You to, well, you name it! The songs from her upcoming album Naked are the show-stealers here, though! "Naked" is a beautiful heavy song, and "Right in the Middle" has to be heard to be believed.
Joan Jett... Photography by Dean of bluzzone
We're talkn' HOT!
Photographed by Dean Serra!
This new album is incredible, but is she in rare form? She never left kids. (If you can't wait for the USA Release of Naked download it [legally] on Joan Jett's Web Site!)

The shame here is that there aren't any Jett Live albums to capture the incredible energy. There's one from her old band "The Runaways", and one as a guest with "the Gits", but there are no real showcases for her live Talent. With her raw and raucous voice who needs a studio? Even her best albums sound a little overproduced compared to her purity on stage, and it's time that got captured. Occasionally there are some Live Tracks added as Bonuses to the end of a CD! Buy those, or better yet, run, don't walk, to the next tour date when you hear she's coming! You'll be hard pressed to find a better rock show! YYYYY

Put away your pre-conceived notions and forget what you think you know about Joan Jett and the Blackhearts from New York City... and just go see them! They look and sound great, and for those of you who think that only men get sexier with age... I give you Miss Joan Jett! Five Stars out of Five for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, coupled with Three Stars for the Bone Daddies makes this a solid Four Star out of Five evening! And that's pretty damned good. If you want to see a purely classic hard rocker that is, right this minute, In Her Prime, might I recommend Joan Jett?

If you don't give a DAMN about your Bad Reputation,
Click Here for many Runaway Reviews!

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (6/6/04) Reviewed by J.C. Maçek III who is solely responsible for his own views and for the other dime he just put in the Jukebox Baby!!
Got something to say? Write it!
Navigation Links:
What's New?Alphabetical Listing of Reviews!SearchThisSite:Advertise With Us!About...Lynx Links:F*A*Q

Dear Joan... I wanna see you NAKED!