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Joan Jett And The Blackhearts At Union County PAC, Rahway NJ, Friday, October 26th, 2018, Reviewed

Joan Jett is one of four women who survive from the late 70s- early 80s punk era who are still on the road, doing what they do.  Along with Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde and Patti Smith, Joan is still carrying the flag for (older) women who rock.

Joan and her band performed an invigorating 21-song set Friday night in Rahway NJ.  Joan’s still got it, even though she looks as if she had to be poured into her black leather outfit.  The band was as tight as the pants as they performed just about all the songs you’d want to hear, along with a few that, well, not so much.  There’s nothing musically sophisticated about the music, but it gets the job done.

Despite her tough-girl looks, Joan is actually quite warm on stage, bringing the audience into the performance with plenty of sing along opportunities.  The mostly older crowd was on its feet for most of the show.  Cherry Bomb, I Love Rock and Roll and Crimson and Clover had us singing as loud as the band.  Another highlight was a strong version of Light of Day, which Bruce Springsteen wrote for the movie of the same title.

There were a few newer songs in the middle of the set  that dragged a bit, and Androgynous was an odd choice to open the encores, as its not much of a rocker.

They closed with a cover of Sly Stone’s Everyday People.

Visually the band fits the punk rock image with the exception of Joan’s longtime producer Kenny Laguna on keyboards.  He shared much of the story telling duties.  He looks and sounds as if your older Uncle Morty accidentally wandered onto the stage.

The opening act was an enthusiastic but not particularly competent all woman trio, Jackknife Stiletto, who are on Joan’s Blackheart Records. At least the lead singer’s hair was perfectly dyed to match the bright red color of her guitar.  The crowd was a bit mystified, I think, although they probably weren’t too different from the Runaways at the start of their career.

Overall rating A-

 

SETLIST:

1 Victim of Circumstance

2 Cherry Bomb

3 Do You Want to Touch Me

4 Bad Reputation

5 Soulmates to Strangers

6 You Drive Me Wild

7 Light of Day

8 Fake Friends

9 TMI

10 Love Is Pain

11 A Hundred Feet Away

12 Fetish

13 Fragile

14 Fresh Start

15 Love is All Around

16 I Love Rock’n’Roll

17 Crimson and Clover

18 I Hate Myself for Loving You

Encore:

19 Androgynous

20 Real Wild Child

21 Everyday People

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