Aug. 21st, 2013

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As unsatisfying as the concert at the Riot Room the night before was, it left me utterly unprepared for the sheer grandeur of the show I experienced the next night at Starlight Ampitheatre.

Starlight is a big outdoor theatre located next to the Kansas City Zoo. I've never really paid attention to it before, but it's got a huge stage that looks like a castle, comfortable seats, and lots of nice walking/standing room. I'm definitely going to be paying more attention to what's playing there after this.

Moving on to the show itself, in case you don't know, Jason Bonham is the son of late Zed Zeppeling drummer John Bonham and he plays drums for them whenever they reunite to perform live. So basically this was the closest I'm ever going to get to seeing Led Zeppelin live and I don't think Page, Plant, and Jones could do it any better. The band Bonham has put together is SPOT ON, to the point that if you close your eyes you can't tell it's not the original lineup. They played a slew of crowd-pleasing favorites like "Heartbreaker," "Ramble On," "Over the Hills and Far Away," and "What Is And What Should Never Be." But iconic songs like "Immigrant Song" and "Stairway to Heaven" were conspicuously absent...

Having become familiar with Heart through their soft rock hits of the 80's, they were a band I never imagined I would be paying to see live. But my God, Ann and Nancy Wilson can ROCK. Ann's huge, sexy voice has lost nothing with age and when she puts force behind it she makes "What About Love?" sound every bit as vicious as "Barracuda." They played songs from all of Heart's different eras and shifted flawlessly into each one. Nancy's solo acoustic cover of an Elton John song was pretty rad too.

If they'd stopped right there I would have been satisfied with having seen a stellar rock show but for the encore they took it up to a whole new level. Jason Bonham joined them on drums for a Led Zeppelin encore. "Immigrant Song" never sounded so good. Seriously, I think Robert Plant's job might be in danger. Remember that big sexy voice of Ann's I was talking about? When she moans the line "We are your overlords..." you will start looking over your shoulder for the Viking sword that will be the last thing you ever see.

After an ass-kicking and suitably epic rendition of "Kashmir" we all knew what was coming next. Remember Heart's performance of Stairway to Heaven that brought the surviving Led Zeppelin members to tears? They did it exactly like that again, right down to the black gospel choir. The video does NOT do it justice. I truly did not want that song to end.

Both bands together played about three hours. The crowd was predominantly older, with M. and I making up the bottom end of the younger portion. We did see a few people in their teens and early 20's, but not many. Overall women slightly outnumbered men. We saw several packs of cougars rocking their slutty teenager-appropriate rock concert outfits as hard as they could.

And you know what? That's okay. It was a great time with a great crowd of people who truly loved the music. You could tell these were people who grew up with these bands and were super eager to give them their due. Compared to the hooligans from the Riot Room I think I'll take a relaxed older crowd focused on a good time any day.

I don't think I have another concert to attend until October. Really hate these long dry spells, but they make the payoff that much more worthwhile.


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