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Joan Jett And The Blackhearts At Barclay Center, May 26th, 2015, Reviewed


Joan Jett is what she is and she knows what she is: a child of glam obsessed with the Soccer Stadium chants that were popularized by glam into mainstream rock in the early 1970s by the likes of Sweet and Garry Glitter and T Rex… not to mention Arrows.  She is a one trick pony, a leather sequined rock and roll belter with a husk to her voice and a hook in her heart and opening for the Who last night at the Barclay Center she brought along both, and neither heart nor hook have missed a step in the past 40 odd years.

The proof was in the pounding drums that introduced “Different” off her last album. 2013’s Unvarnished, it coulda been 1981, or 1976, a straight forward entitlement pounder which seems to have changed the formula not an iota,  plus a lyric so straightforward it sounded like straight up, but heartfelt, proselytizing.  Joanie has no time for the subtleties of telling the bullies where to jump, she barrels straight through them, with the confidence and assuredness the woman brings to everything she does.

Indeed, Joanie and this year’s Blackhearts  (ever since Roscoe left, they’ve been a little interchangeable) barrel straight through anything in its way, only “Crimson And Clover” has any subtlety to it, “Tommy James in the house”, the lead guitarist kidded, and it was as close to a change of pace as you would get in the 45 minute opening set for the Who.

Not that I am complaining, opener  “Bad Reputation”, set the table, a spectacularly lively, spirit, tuneful song and she never looked back. “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)” and megahit “I Love Rock And roll” mixed it with sexy subversive “The French Song” (no, not that French) and  Springsteen penned “Light Of Day”, they are all given power driven, lovely, up against the wall bubblegum run throughs, they are all great.

Would I have wanted “Tulane”? Sure. “Fake Friends”?  -I’d have taken “Fake friends” over “Cherry Bomb”. “Star Star”? Fuck yeah. But the diminutive spitfire looked ageless and sounded timeless and she had no problem filling an arena. Long may Joan be what she is.

Grade: B+

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