I had high expectations going to WMGK’s Let Freedom Rock Fest featuring Heart and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. The event was held in Camden, NJ at the Susquehanna Bank Center.
Sitting on the lawn, I was surprised at the turn-out. Unlike years previous, where WMGK would hold a free Fourth of July concert at Cooper River Park, this event cost about $20 per ticket. However, the fee was well worth it.
The night opened up with Jason Bonham (son of Led Zeppelin’s drummer John Bonham) and his band, the Led Zeppelin Experience. Like his father, Jason is also a drummer. Of course, the band did all Zeppelin covers, opening up with “Rock and Roll,” “Black Dog,” and “Over the Hills and Far Away.” They then played one of my personal favorites, “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You.” They continued with “Houses of the Holy,” “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” and the classic “When the Levee Breaks.” They closed their set with “Whole Lotta Love.”
I was more than psyched to see the Wilson sisters of Heart come on stage. They opened up with “Barracuda,” getting the crowd excited for what’s to come. There were moments in the song when I felt Ann Wilson’s voice was faltering, but rightfully she was probably saving her high, elongated notes for the songs ahead. “Heartless,” and my personal favorite, “What About Love” followed. They then went into the mega-hit “Magic Man,” followed by “Kick it Out,” “Mistral Wind,” “Even it Up,” and the Elton John cover, “I Need You to Turn To.” The rest of the set was strictly hits, starting with “These Dreams”- a song that proved that Nancy Wilson could not only shred on guitar but could also sing. Next came the hit “Alone,” with Ann Wilson’s piercing voice giving me the chills as she sang the chorus. The band closed with “Crazy on You,” the awesome hit from their debut album Dreamboat Annie.
The night was far from over, however, when Heart came back onstage to do an encore of all Led Zeppelin covers. With mandolin and acoustic guitar in hand, the sisters came on to do a haunting version of “Battle of Evermore.” They then performed “The Song Remains the Same,” “The Rain Song,” “The Ocean,” “Kashmir,” and the last song of the night, Led Zeppelin’s legendary hit, “Stairway to Heaven.”
While Jason Bonham’s band sure did rock the house, it was Heart that stole the show. The Wilson sisters have such a magnetic stage presence, let alone amazing voices, that it was difficult to come up with any criticism of their performance. If you ever get the chance, I recommend seeing these bands live.