I (too) love rock ‘n’ roll

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

When the lights dimmed and the volume on the P.A. went up to concert level with the pulsating synth intro to the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” my companion raised an eyebrow and said, “Wow, pretty gutsy, having the Who open for you.” But by the time the song built to Daltrey’s big, screaming “Yeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaah!” the crowd was tuned to fever pitch for Joan Jett’s perfectly synchronized appearance on the stage with her band the Blackhearts. Genius.

Clad in black and red leather and a bleached buzz-cut, Jett looked every inch the rock star as she knocked out a few warm-up chords, acknowledged the warm reception from the crowd and launched into a joyfully played 90-minute tour of her version of rock history, starting with “Cherry Bomb,” the coyly prurient tune from her original band, the Runaways, and proceeding through “Do You Wanna Touch,” “I Love Rock & Roll,” “Bad Reputation” and every other Joan Jett song you can think of plus a few new ones and some great cover tunes.

Age-wise, the Blackhearts ranged from young lead guitarist Doug E. Needles, in giant spiked hair, to ‘60s bubblegum-music veteran and longtime Jett producer/partner Kenny Laguna on keyboards, with drummer Thommy Price and bassist Sammi Yaffa falling somewhere in the middle. They’re a great rock band whose versions of Tommy James’ "Crimson and Clover" and Jonathan Richman’s "Roadrunner" were my favorites of the night, till the encore, a killer version of Sly Stone’s "Everyday People," that brought down the house.