"Heart" Concert
Clearwater, Florida

April 7, 2006

by Shannon Johnston

My son Andy Fischer (who works for Cameron Crowe, Nancy Wilson's husband), arranged for four tickets to the Clearwater, Florida concert, where Nancy Wilson and her sister Ann performed with their three other guitarists, a keyboard person, and a drummer named Ben Smith. Andy had arranged with Nancy's assistant — Sherri Anderson — for us to have complimentary tickets, and backstage passes. I have not been to a rock concert for probably 30 years, so this was almost like a new experience. Their music was wonderful, and according to my friend Mike Vega — the person who informed me that the concert was coming nearby, and a long-time fan of Heart — said it was the best Heart concert he'd ever seen.

Sherri took really good care of us. We had seats that allowed us to see over everyone (I didn't know people stand up for concerts; no wonder many venues don't sell reserved seats). She also got us backstage where we could talk to the performers up close. Drummer Ben Smith answered all my questions about how concerts work. For example: Did you know that the drummer is responsible in each song for being sure each person's instrument is working and ready when the song begins? The drummer also sets the beat and rhythm at the beginning of each song, so that it isn't played too fast, or too slow. Ben says he has a computer next to him that has the perfect rhythm on it. He follows that just for a few measures at the beginning, and then turns it off. He said he really loves working with Nancy and Ann, and has done lots of recordings with the Crowe movies (Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, and recently Elizabethtown), which Nancy is heavily involved in.

So, I didn't take many pictures, but here are two taken back stage.

Left to right:

Mike Vega, big fan.

Dave, our driver

Ruth Johnston, cousin (this was her 65th birthday present from Ken and me).

Left to right:

Ann Wilson

Mike Vega (happy Mike)

Nancy Wilson