Heart By Heart
January 11, 2020
Newberry Opera House
Review and Photos by Greg Perry
The Heartbeat is strong with Heart By Heart in Newberry
The audience who attended the Heart By Heart show Saturday night in Newberry, S.C. at the famed Opera House were treated to a wonderful night of iconic classic rock tunes performed by a tremendous band of highly skilled musicians who together put on a whale of a show. Heart By Heart (HBH) is led by Rock and Roll Hall of fame original members from Heart, Steven Fossen and Michael Derosier on bass and drums respectively. The pair formed the backbone and rhythm section for Heart during their classic period performing on such iconic tracks such as “Barracuda”, “Even It Up” and “Straight On” to name but a few. HBH also features the incredible vocal talents of lead vocalist Somar Macek, who brings an amazingly powerful yet beautiful lead vocal to the show. On guitars, keyboards and background vocals is the very talented Lizzy Daymont who very ably handles her various duties on stage with great showmanship and skill. The group is rounded out last but not least by lead guitarist Chad Quist who does a phenomenal job with the iconic licks featured in so many of the classic Heart songs. Together they make it seem so effortless as they power through an almost 2 hour show featuring some of classic rock radios biggest anthems.
They got the festivities started with 1975’s groundbreaking hit “Magic Man” — performed note for note true to the original by the band much to the pleasure of all in attendance. Macek’s lead vocals were excellent, the rhythm section was driving hard, Quist played incendiary lead guitar and Daymont was outstanding on her guitar as well as the song’s signature keyboard parts. They followed it with a spirited performance of 1977’s “Kick it Out” which was followed by a show highlight performance of “Straight On” from the “Dog & Butterfly” album complete with the classic window rattling bass and drum lines that helped drive the song to such heights back in 1978. At its conclusion, the crowd roared its approval for a job well done!
At this point Fossen stepped to the mic and introduced one of the bands number one hits – 1987’s tour de force “Alone”. Macek really shined on this great track as she belted out the lyrics and sustained notes seemingly for days all with such power and grace. This was followed by an excellent performance of “Dog & Butterfly “on which Daymont and Macek were the highlight with their beautiful harmonizing vocals. After a thrilling version of “Love Alive,” they powered through a hard driving tripleheader of tracks all while never stopping to catch their breath. They started it off with the energy filled adrenaline rush of “Even it Up,” followed by the power punching “Heartless” and closed out the mini set with the seldom heard hard rocking deep track “Devil Delight” from 1977’s “Magazine” album. The band’s power and outstanding musicianship was especially on display during this run of 3 tracks as the rhythm section drove the action hard and each guitarist delivered one killer lick after another on their screaming axes all while Macek once again hit all the notes exactly as they needed to be hit!
After a quick moment to catch their breath, they jumped right back in and quickly had the audience jumping around and singing along with a great twofer from 1985’s “Heart” album with the tracks “Never” and “Nothin at All”. After these two great sing-alongs, they dipped a bit deeper in the catalog to everyone’s great delight as they gave an excellent driving performance of “White Lightning and Wine” – a seldom heard classic from “Dreamboat Annie”. What a treat for long time Heart fans to get a live performance of this fantastic song! This was followed by another of those classic tracks that really demonstrate the power of the Fossen/Derosier rhythm section with 1980’s “Bebe Le Strange”.
Just before they entered the home stretch of the show, Fossen took a moment to thank various people who made the show possible and gave a big shout out to the crew of the Newberry Opera House for all everyone had done to make their stay in town pleasant and most of all he thanked the audience for coming out to the show. He then took a moment and introduced what many longtime Heart fans consider to be the band’s masterpiece in 1978’s “Mistral Wind.” The song is an absolute tour de force with its dreamy mystical beginning notes, builds slowly until the explosion of full power from these 5 incredible musicians and winds down as dreamy as it began. Outstanding performance start to finish by the band on this incredible song and as it closed, the audience roared to its feet expressing their appreciation with a thunderous applause.
Allowing everyone to catch their breath a bit they next performed the beautiful “Dreamboat Annie” which once again showcased the bands excellent harmonizing skills on the vocals. The pre-encore portion of the show was closed appropriately enough by the classic rock radio staples of “Crazy on You” on which Lizzy Daymont was outstanding on the guitar and Somar Macek provided the iconic “kick” as the song launches into full electric mode. Daymont and Quist traded licks on the axes through the song and Macek was once again spot on with her vocals. As the song concluded, they leaped head first into a driving performance of “Barracuda” which once again really showcased the incredible musicianship this band possess. As the song came to a close, the audience once again gave a long-sustained applause of appreciation as they took a quick bow and exited the stage.
After a few minutes of steady cheers, they returned to the stage once again and as the opening bars of “What About Love” were performed by the band, the audience became even louder. As the song progressed the entire audience seemed to sing every note. So much so that at one point Macek extended the mic out over the audience, paused her vocals and allowed them to sing a complete verse. The band seemed visibly impressed and well pleased with their effort.
Nearing the end of the show, Macek instructed anyone in the building not already on their feet to rise as the band drove head on into an extended version of Led Zeppelin’s classic “Rock and Roll”. It was performed complete with lengthy dueling guitar solos from Daymont and Quist and closed out with an explosive drum solo from Hall of Famer Michael Derosier. They took their bows and drank in their well-earned applause. As things calmed a bit, they informed everyone they would be meeting with fans post show in the lobby. True to their word, out they came after about 10 minutes, and even though they had to be exhausted, it never showed as they took the time to chat and visit with all of the fans who hung around. They spent the next half hour signing autographs and posing for photos until the last person in line was taken care of.
In conclusion, it was a really outstanding show by a band who obviously takes great pride in presenting the material of Heart as true to the original as possible while displaying their own tremendous individual talents. Overall, it was a job very well done and a thrilling evening of fantastic music for all who attended. With Heart By Heart, the beat is still strong indeed!