Joan Jett & The Blackhearts staged an evening performance outside Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Sunday, June 29, 2003, in Baltimore, Maryland. The Philly-native songbird rocked the ballpark, following an Orioles ball game lost to their 1983 World's Series rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Blackhearts pounded out hit after hit shielded from the setting sun across from the warehouse. Her seasoned band features Dougie Needles on lead guitar, Thommy Price on drums, Sammy Yaffa on bass guitar, and Kenny Laguna on keyboards. The band appeared on stage on queue to the recorded vocal scream of Roger Daltrey in a Who track.
Joan and her Blackhearts kicked off their evening set with the hard-rocker "Victim Of Circumstance". "Cherry Bomb" showcased the tough drumming of Price behind the skins. Jett greeted the Charm City crowd with, "Balmer, Mariland ... we're happy to be here. Don't be shy, we love show offs".
Jett sang the taylor-made Springsteen composition, "Light Of Day". Needles played a lead guitar solo and Jett tossed her pick into the throng. Jett lead the crowd in a chorus of "Oh yeah!", which segued into "Do You Wanna Touch Me". The pop-oriented rocker motivated the ballpark audience to sing along on the chorus with Jett jamming away on rhythm guitar chords.
Price's driving drumbeat gave "Bad Reputation" a punked-up tempo. Jett winked behind the mike as she sang the lyric wondering about her reputation. She ran off stage at the conclusion of the song and returned after a brief absence. "Love Is All Around" was a total surprise. Recognized as the Mary Tyler Moore television theme song, the Blackhearts delivered a pop-punk rendition that generated cheers and applause.
"Fetish" was another driving rocker that highlighted Price's feel for syncopation. Jett turned in a decisive vocal and played her guitar frets with her left hand only. A drum pattern introduced her monster anthem, "I Love Rock And Roll". Their tough Baltimore version was a performance high point, supported by enthusiastic crowd vocals on the chorus.
The power ballad cover of "Crimson And Clover" kept the momentum going on stage. Laguna's keyboard chords shimmered on the rocking coda. The mild punk-punch on "I Hate Myself For Loving You" solicited audience participation on the chorus as Jett projected animated body language during the lyrics.
The Camden Yards crowd clamored for the return of the Blackhearts as they mounted the shaded stage. Jett introduced her first encore by mentioning she sang "Science Fiction" as Columbia in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Needles inserted a brief guitar solo, and Laguna added tambourine.
Her last two numbers were additional cover songs. A cool punk-style rendition of "Real Wild Child" spotlighted Laguna's keyboard playing. Jett conducted band introductions, which featured each member on his instrument. A punky-pop "Everyday People" was empowered by a rare Jett lead guitar solo. Their tough vocal harmony trio fortified the encore finale.
Sara Townsend, 27, drove up from Salisbury with her boyfriend to attend the Sunday evening Blackhearts concert in addition to the ball game. She commented, "I've been a fan since I was seven, and it's great to finally see her live". Townsend added, "'Crimson And Clover' was my favorite, but 'I Love R&R' had everyone singing along".
Baltimore setlist: Victim Of Circumstance * Cherry Bomb * Light Of Day * Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah) * Bad Reputation * Androgynous * Long Time * Love Is Pain * Love Is All Around * Hundred Feet Away * Road Runner * Fetish * I Love Rock And Roll * Crimson And Clover * I Hate Myself For Loving You * Encore: Science Fiction * Real Wild Child * Everyday People
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Joan Jett & the Blackhearts punk out on stage
by Timothy Tilghman