Dreamboat Annie Live [Video]

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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey

There's no shortage of live material in the Heart catalog, but it's still hard to fault a gracefully aging band for showing off its tricks. While other '70s and '80s mainstays sound withered and strained 25 years after their heyday, the Wilson sisters have taken care of themselves. Dreamboat Annie Live finds them playing their band's debut in its entirety, from the iconic rhythmic thump of "Magic Man" to the harmony-laden melodies in the title track's reprise. Often lean and tight, the music also veers into orchestrated territory with a six-piece string section (which is employed to stunning effect on "How Deep It Goes"). A handful of classic rock covers are thrown in for the encore, pairing Ann Wilson's well-preserved pipes with tracks by Led Zeppelin and the Who. Ann may not have the range to still tackle such follow-up hits as "Alone," but she's nevertheless solid on this disc, nailing the melodies with a throaty wail that many of her contemporaries have steadily worn away with the snowballing effect of alcohol, drugs, and general rock & roll hedonism. For those fans who prefer Heart's early material to the slick, hairsprayed singles of the '80s, Dreamboat Annie Live is a reminder that this band did -- and, indeed, does -- rock the boat. [A DVD was also released.]

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