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Bad Reputation: Joan Jett & The Blackhearts @ The Roxy, 3/16/14

March 16, 2014

IMG_7824I was sitting at my computer on Valentine’s Day when I got an alert that Joan Jett & The Blackhearts would be playing The Roxy, and was immediately on sale. Freak out! I pounced on two tickets for my lover and I, and V-day was off to a brilliant start. A month later, and I still couldn’t quite believe that I was going to see Joan Jett in such a small place. Especially when we arrived and the line went on for blocks, I was left wondering how we were all going to fit inside!

The event was to benefit the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, which wasn’t immediately apparent when I bought the tickets, but it didn’t matter as I’m all for equal love. However, I didn’t realize that that meant that Linda Perry would be the emcee, we’d hear about some HEAVY SHIT before the show, and, also, Ozzy & Sharon and Billy Morrison would be some of the rock elite/supporters of the org watching from VIP.

IMG_7843The look on my guy’s face was priceless as Joan Jett emerged and stood on stage a short distance from us. Wearing a shiny red jumpsuit, Jett and the band launched straight into essentially the same set I saw last summer. But I didn’t mind at all… she was meant to be heard in venues like this, rather than a formal amphitheater. The Runaways were a fixture down the street at The Whisky-A-Go-Go in the mid-seventies, and that was definitely something that I thought about over the course of the set.

Standing in the corner of the curved Roxy stage meant that I was almost behind Joan Jett, giving a good vantage point of the front row of fans. These women where surprisingly unemotive at first, but finally the shock of nearness to a rock idol wore off and they began to sing and dance along. What really came across during this set to me was Joan Jett’s vibe; that of the epitome of cool. That perfect mix of not giving a fuck but still caring about her craft, that of being introspective and thoughtful but shrugging off the rest of the world.

The temperature rose as the night progressed; participating in call and response rock music had me working up a sweat. Or perhaps it was the lyrics and the beats and the memories and the company. While all of the hits were played, a few songs from her new record were peppered in, and required a stagehand to post the lyrics in front of her for those songs. However, she barely seemed to utilize this. Rock & roll.

Clapping and dancing along, Joan Jett and her band dealt the crowd a great time, much more so than the drunks wearing green stumbling around outside had.

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