Review / photos: Joan Jett lives up to her bad reputation at the Hard Rock Cafe in Tampa
On Wednesday, it was time to get out the hairspray and sleeveless punk shirts. Joan Jett was in town and ready to rumble.
Those who were at the Hard Rock Cafe Wednesday night learned the 52-year-old Jett could still pack a punch. I knew this would be an interesting show. Jett is an icon with a cultlike following, but she has been hit-and-miss in the music world in the last 15 years. She’s toured with Aerosmith and Alice Cooper and even had her own Sirius Radio Show, but she hasn’t had the spotlight on her since the early ’90s. I was never able to see her live, so for me it was a chance to catch a childhood favorite in action.
Could she still pull it off?
There was no opening act. It was just Joan and her Blackhearts. As I arrived at the Hard Rock Cafe, Joan was on stage rehearsing. I thought that was odd, but hey, unlike a bride that doesn’t want to be seen on her wedding day, she was just jamming on stage. She left the stage; the crowd entered and slowly grew. A respectable attendance was on hand to see a legend in action. And for those who haven’t been to a show at the Hard Rock Cafe Tampa, I recommend it. The venue is clean and a very comfortable way to see a show.
In an orderly fashion, at exactly 10 p.m., the lights went down, and out she came, giving a wave to her waiting fans. And I know some are asking ... is she still hot?
Yep, she is.
Wearing her traditional black leather pants and a black sleeveless shirt, she strapped on her low-hanging guitar and prepared to impress. The crowd was loud, and she amped them up to get louder. She went right into her opening song, Bad Reputation. The crowd was thrilled to be thrown back in time.
She was right on with her chords, and while the vocals were generally perfect, there were some technical difficulties throughout the night — one with her ear monitor not working; and another when her keyboardist (Jett has a keyboardist now?) didn’t remember the rhythm to I Love Playing With Fire. Jett walked back to the keyboard and played it herself, and while laughing for the crowd, it seemed she was not very thrilled. She appears to be a perfectionist, and this wasn’t in her plans for the evening.
As in the past, the Blackhearts were not the focus of the show. It could have just been the Joan Jett solo act, and the fans would have been just as thrilled. She demands your attention, and her fans had no problems giving 100 percent.
She still has her punk rock shock with sexual connotations, stating, “Love between two people is a wonderful thing, but what is better is when it’s between three people, and I’m one of them.” The crowd gave their loud approval, and Jett rawred her guitar into the next song. She is abrasive and sexy, and she has no problem speaking her mind.
If you have the chance to catch her live, you are going to have a good time. Other then a few minor flaws, the show was an awesome time, and hopefully she will be around again in the near future.
For video of the show, click here.
— Review / photos by Andrew Carlton, tbt*
JOAN JETT SETLIST
Light of Day
You Drive Me Wild
Love is Pain
I Love Playin w/ Fire
I Love Rock & Roll
Crimson and Clover