When Lone Star 92.5’s Bo and Jim throw a party, showing up fashionably late is a serious faux pas and leaving early just isn’t acceptable. The Bo & Jim Bash 3 at Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie Saturday night saw electric and captivating performances from Night Ranger and Heart that were all-out parties within themselves.
The Dallas DJ duo greeted partygoers with music from their band Stone Cold Sweat. Their versions of Classic Rock goodies including “You Talk Too Much” quickly put the audience in a partying mood.
A favorite on the Austin music scene, guitarist Monte Montgomery then took the stage. His dazzling dexterity demonstrated why he was named the best acoustic guitar player at the Austin Music Awards at the SXSW Festival four years in a row. Highlights included the jam session stylings of “River.”
Then…the keg showed up…in the form of Night Ranger with an intoxicating performance that had the party flat-out rocking. The ’80s arena rock band brought as much energy and excitement to the stage (maybe more) as they did in their first Dallas performance back in 1983, opening for Sammy Hagar at Reunion Arena.
Night Ranger treated fans to a rousing set list that included more than just their biggest hits (“Sister Christian” and “(You Can Still) Rock in America”). Bassist/vocalist Jack Blades fronted “Coming of Age” and “High Enough” from his days with Ted Nugent and Tommy Shaw in Damn Yankees. The band also slipped in the title track of their latest album, High Road. But it was a lesser known song that almost stole the show…”Eddie’s Comin’ Out Tonight” from the band’s debut album. The song featured searing guitar solos that had the guitar gods smiling down from above.
Guitarists Brad Gillis and Keri Kelli traded blistering solos throughout the evening. Classic Rock fans may have recognized Kelli from Alice Cooper’s band. Kelli is filling in on guitar while Night Ranger searches for a permanent replacement for Joel Hoekstra.
Saturday night proved that you can still rock with Night Ranger (in America…or anywhere else).
When Heart took the stage, they instantly transformed Verizon Theatre into the cool room of the party. That one corner of the house where everyone wants to be… and be seen. Ann Wilson, decked in black with her rocker aura, oozed coolness from every pore of her body. Nancy Wilson, the golden goddess of guitardom (as called by Ann), lit up the room with grace, talent and beauty. Simply put, Heart was mesmerizing.
The band wasted no time kicking out the hits, opening with “Barracuda” and “Heartless.” Then, with a bluesy guitar introduction by Craig Bartock, Heart launched into a guitar driven version of the mega-hit, “What About Love.”
The classic hits, Nancy’s trademark jump kicks and Ann’s captivating voice carried the band effortlessly through an energetic set that also featured quiet and enchanting moments. “This is the part of the show where we take deep cleansing breaths,” Ann said as she introduced “Heaven.” A song that is not available on any Heart album and is only performed live. The introspective piece featured Nancy playing an upright acoustic guitar with a cello bow and Bartock on slide guitar. Afterwords, Nancy took hold of a mandolin guitar for a fresh and beautiful version of the ballad “These Dreams.” Then came a song that was worth the price of admission alone… “Alone.” Ann Wilson beautifully hit all the high notes as only she can, and the crowd didn’t take it for granted, providing a thunderous standing ovation.
Remember the part about not leaving early? Heart’s encore included a stunning performance of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.”
Indeed, the Bo & Jim Bash 3 was an all-out party. Is it too early to think about next year’s show?!
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