In the summer of 1994, the American band Heart gives a series of intimate unplugged concerts in their hometown Seattle. We are talking about performances for only 500 people in a hall with a stage decorated as a living room inclucing curtains, rugs and pendant lights. “The Road Home” is a compilation of the 15 most beautiful performances in this serie of concerts. At those nights, the setlist can best be considered a ‘best of’ in terms of song choice. With these arrangements, however, the songs sound reborn.
To describe the acoustic intentions of the band, strings have been added to the band sound and there are also some parts of the oboe and horn. In addition, there is an extra background singer present. Traditionally, Heart’s music already has a folky edge, so instruments such as flute, mandolin, accordion and piano together with the acoustic guitars are actually no strangers to their sound.
The first two songs that pass by, Dreamboat Annie and Dog And Butterfly, remain fairly close to the calm original. The great thing about Heart is that regardless of style or performance, the band character always comes to the fore. Whether it’s bluesy as in Cherry Blossom Road, swinging as in Back To Avalon or folky as in Dream Of The Archer; Heart always is Heart. That can’t be otherwise with such a great singer as Ann Wilson. I once saw her sing live but her performance here is beyond compare. In that respect, listen to that great performance of the mega hit Alone, goosebumps all over. Another big hit that is played is All I Want To Do Is Make Love To You, beautiful. Not only does Wilson sing it excellently, but also the piano playing of John Paul Jones and the strings are unparalleled. Crazy On You and Barracuda are also played and These Dreams, sung by sister Nancy, as well.
In addition to all these Heart classics, there are a number of rarities to be heard. For example, there is the cover of the Nazareth song Love Hurts or Seasons, a song by Joni Mitchell: the band from Seattle makes something beautiful out of it. The album closes with the previously unreleased title track, a rather cheerful sneeze that is not mentioned on the CD cover. It fits well with the rest of the album, so I don’t see it as a bonus track like Wikipedia writes.
“The Road Home” is also available on DVD. However, make no mistake, the concert on the DVD is from a little earlier with a little more audience and a slightly larger number of strings. Follow your heart and open up to Heart.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022