Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - Casino Rama, Orillia - March 1, 2013
By Vickie Young
Photo by Peter Turchet
Gone are the days of dropping a dime in the jukebox, but the memory of such was wildly alive to Casino Rama this past Friday night. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts returned to the stage with one of those amazing blow your socks off intros, testifying we're here to rock n’ roll and you’re gonna like it.
As the opening chords of “Bad Reputation” pulsed in the air, the stage was immediately rushed with predominately female fans eager to move as close as possible to the rock icon. The moment Jett broke out a lyric, the punks, rockers, eccentrics, and a few with no idea what they were in for, were summoned by her primal energy.
Jett is surprisingly tiny in stature but nothing short of mighty with perfectly sculpted triceps, tattoos splashed across her pint-size frame, and a voice that is not only raspy; it's raunchy, deliciously seductive, and as solid as ever. Jett’s voice remains timeless so as her street-smart style. Rocking her trademark shaggy hair, charcoal rimmed eyes, and skin-tight jump suit complete with studded belt, Jett remains true to her roots. All eyes were fixated on her as she followed up with the classic hit “Cherry Bomb”, a fan favourite from her earlier days with The Runaways, with the crowd cheering and standing while offering up some backup vocals.
“Do You Wanna Touch Me?" and “You Drive Me Wild” pronounced her ambiguous sexuality. In between winking and exchanging sultry looks with female fans, Jett’s gyrating and dry humping antics revved the crowd. Her capacity to dig into a lyric makes the transition from purring to growling vocals appear seamless.
As the set reached the halfway mark, time was spent test-driving the band’s fresh material which included “Make it Back” and “Fragile." Although the unknown selections boasted typical punk flavour resembling The Ramones, the show seemingly hit a bit of lull with the unfamiliar material. Jett encouraged the crowd not to be shy and to kick it up a notch shouting: “I like skin slapping skin." A redemption was nearing with a triple dose of hits, including “I Love Rock and Roll," “Crimson and Clover," and “I Hate Myself for Loving You." The outstanding, brash aggression roused the crowd and definitely became the peak of the evening.
Jett’s shredding talent is equally as mesmerizing so it comes as no surprise that she places among the Top 100 guitarists of all time. Recently nominated for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jett sadly wasn’t inducted; however, she undoubtedly makes the cut as a revered pioneer of all things Rock n’ Roll.