For a short time, it appeared that Heart was going to make a full-circle return to the blues-fueled, dynamic rock 'n' roll that marked the Seattle group's early days.

For a short time, it appeared that Heart was going to make a full-circle return to the blues-fueled, dynamic rock ‘n’ roll that marked the Seattle group’s early days.

After a decade of bland recordings (albums”Private Audition” and “Passionworks”) and chart-topping arena-rock pablum (hits “These Dreams,””What About Love”), the Capitol Records band began this decade with an acoustic EP and a ballad-free live record, signaling that Heart intended to break some lingering bad musical habits.

But then along comes “Desire Walks On,” the band’s unfocused and inconsistent new album, and a theater tour, necessitated by low consumer demand, that reflects “Desire’s” misguided tendencies.

Split into two sets, acoustic followed by electric, the evening began slowly and, for the most part, stayed in an unaffecting holding pattern.

In the unplugged portion, standouts were “These Dreams,” sporting sweet harmonizing vocals from sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, old fave “Dreamboat Annie” and Led Zeppelin’s mandolin ballad “Battle of Evermore.”

After the 40-minute acoustic set, the audience, apparently mostly fans of older Heart material, was ready to, as Ann Wilson had earlier promised, hear music that peels the paint from the walls. But that never happened.

Instead, the anticipated kick-ass electric portion of the show was anti-climax defined. A poorly paced, boring string of songs, including throwaway “Black on Black,” the ’80s-lame “Wild Child” and a grating cover of Bob Dylan’s “Ring Them Bells,” were sure signs that Heart has yet to learn from their past.

Two radio staples from the band’s glory years, “Barracuda” and a reworked “Crazy on You,” at the end of the concert, tried but failed to salvage the show.

Heart

Wiltern Theater; 2,200 seats; $32.50 top

Production

Promoted by Avalon Attractions. Reviewed Dec. 9, 1993.

Cast

Band: Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Howard Leese, Denny Fongheiser, Fernando Saunders.
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