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Friday, August 21, 2015

Joan Jett in Roanoke

In the past when someone asked me how I felt about Joan Jett my response would be "she's no Patti." Well, after attending the Joan Jett and the Blackhearts show last night, I will no longer say that as Joan, unlike Patti Smith, actually came to Roanoke Virginia, and gave our sleepy little town her all. The show was unbelievable!

My daughter had surprised me with tickets to the Elmwood Park venue and it was our first time seeing a rock concert together. In the past she's gone with her dad to see some country music shows way back when. She no longer is a country music fan and said last night's show was the best live performance she ever saw. "Joan is one freaking badass!" I asked her how many of her friends knew who she was and she said not many. She knew her from the film that was out last year about the Runaways so when Joan belted out "Cherry Bomb" she was singing along. Now, how many of you would have asked your mother to go to a concert with them back in the day? No way could I ever see saying, "Mom I got us tickets to CBGB's to see the Ramones." I'm so glad I have that relationship, and similar musical taste, with my daughter.

Now, if you know me in real life, you know I'm not one to not voice my opinion on how Roanoke screws up things. Well, for once Roanoke got it right with the Elmwood Park amphitheater. Last night was the first time I saw a show there and I was quite impressed. There wasn't a bad seat in the house, although I don't think anyone was sitting down. I know I wasn't, and it was a much better experience dancing outdoors to Joan Jett than it was the last time I danced at a show, at Webster Hall when seeing Patti Smith. That venue was a hot, crowded mess and I could barely move my shoulders without knocking into someone. Their hot breath on my back and the phantom fart man killing my air made me feel like I could pass out at any moment. Not last night. I had the freedom to shake it for all it was worth with the knowledge that if I got tired I could sit down. Never did. Even the girl, with her wounded leg, stood the entire time bopping to the band.

We were able to get beer and wine at five bucks each, much more reasonable than that last show where it was $8 for a warm small can of Bud. At least these Buds were long necks and ice cold too. No mega line waiting either. The sound system was great, although I think the warm-up band, Swamp Somethingorother, who were pretty good, did go into the "red" on some notes and could have benefitted from someone riding the sound board.

You know how some "older" musicians need to depend on echo, reverb, whatever to mask their aging voice...not Joan. She sounded as fresh as she did back in the day. And damn, that woman looked good! Freaking ripped and tight. At one point I turned to my daughter and said, "You see how good she looks? If I would have stayed in New York, and not had kids, that could have been me. You're welcome." It also got me thinking...why couldn't I still look hot like that? So thanks to Joan I am determined to get back in shape...starting Monday.

My daughter was able to relate to not only the music behind them, but also a lot of the lyrics. I think she now has a better understanding of my "NYC/take no prisoners/women can do anything attitude."

I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation
You're living in the past, it's a new generation
A girl can do what she wants to do and that's what I'm gonna do

Jett performed many of the classics, and mixed in a couple of new tunes which still kept the audience upbeat and moving, but my favorite song of the night was her cover of "Crimson & Clover." This is a performance from May in Brooklyn...

The crowd in Roanoke was great too...enthusiastic and welcoming. The band looked like they had a great time and I hope they tell all their musical friends to come to Roanoke. All in all, it was a great night, and unlike thirty years ago when I would see a show, theres no hangover today!

To my New York friends...Jett & The Blackhearts are having a free show this Saturday on Long Island in East Meadow at Eisenhower Park. You should won't be disappointed!

The Blackhearts were not only tight, but very accommodating as they took a picture with the girl.

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