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Review: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts captivate Jones Beach Theater in NY (Includes first-hand account)

She shared the stage with fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Cheap Trick and Heart, both of which were able to warm up the stage for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

Jett opened her set with her upbeat classic “Bad Reputation.” “Long Island, yes,” she exclaimed, as she had everybody jumping along. She continued with “Cherry Bomb,” a tune from her days with the all-girl group The Runaways, which featured a killer guitar solo. “How are you doing everybody?” she asked. It’s so great to be home.”

She made the audience sing the words “oh yeah,” in “Do You Wanna Touch Me,” and she encouraged them to take deep breaths along the way. She went on to play songs from her latest album, Unvarnished, which included the drum-driven “TMI,” as well as the infectious, “Soulmates to Strangers,” where she showcased her raspy and nostalgic voice, as a psychedelic background displayed on the giant televised screen. “Thank you very much,” she said, following its warm reception.

Jett took her fans on a trip down memory lane with the first song that The Runaways wrote “You Drive Me Wild.” She went on to explain the backstory behind “Make It Back,” which came about during the time of Hurricane Sandy, when she was living in Long Beach (“Yay Long Beach,” Jett exclaimed), and she was impressed with the unity, empathy and togetherness of how people came to rebuild their communities after the hurricane. “The song was written about a place that makes you feel comfortable and alive,” the rock queen said, referring to “Make It Back,” which was an upbeat performance, coupled with optimistic lyrics.

She shared that she was in a movie with Michael J. Fox, where Bruce Springsteen wrote the song, and she went on to perform “Light of Day,” as parts of the movie played in the background. She continued with “Fragile,” which was off her latest CD, as red lights dimmed from the stage. It was followed by “Love Is Pain,” where she displayed the growl in her voice. “Oh yeah, love is pain,” Jett said, and immediately broke into “Hard to Grow Up.”

“Love between two people can be a beautiful thing. Love between three people can even be a more beautiful thing, especially if it’s me,” she said, and went on to sing “The French Song,” and it was neat to hear her sing the following lyrics in French: “J’aime faire I’amour sur tout a trois.”

She introduced “Any Weather,” the opening track of her Unvarnished CD, as a song that she co-wrote with Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters. Her smash hit “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” was the quintessential sing-along, and equally noteworthy was her rocking version of “Crimson & Clover.” She closed with her rock staple, “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” which earned her a tremendous standing ovation.

The Verdict

Overall, Joan Jett showed her hometown crowd on Long Island what she was made of: pure class, charisma and raw, natural talent. The female lead guitar never sounded better. It is safe to say that Jones Beach loves Joan Jett. Dougie Needles on guitar and backing vocals from the Blackhearts was fantastic as well. The New York audience was aware that they were in the presence of a rock goddess. Her live show garnered an A+ rating.

To learn more about Joan Jett, her music and tour dates, check out her official homepage.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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