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POPCAPSULES

Heart Musters A Faint Pulse

September 07, 1987|DUNCAN STRAUSS

When it comes to concerts, Heart should either change its name or change its tune. At Irvine Meadows Saturday, there wasn't complete Heart failure, but the emotional pulse was pretty faint.

As on record, the veteran band traverses the commercial rock spectrum, from wispy ballads to racing, metallic rockers. But on the former, the slick, synthesizer-heavy instrumentation kept things dull and soulless, while the passion of the latter was undercut by the bombast bursting in air. Lead vocalist Ann Wilson still has some of the most powerful pipes in rock, but she's far less consistent than she used to be about hitting all the notes, especially on the up-tempo material. That just made the proceedings all the more pallid.

Opening act Tom Kimmel, on the other hand, performed with the feisty zeal of a man with something to prove. Backed by a sharp, spunky quartet--and armed with a batch of his well-written anthems--the gritty singer delivered a set that did, indeed, prove something: Tom Kimmel could give arena-rock a good name.

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