Five thoughts from Joan Jett’s January 18 show at Eastside Cannery

Do you wanna touch me?”
Photo: Corlene Byrd
Jason Harris

1. Only glam-rockers and professional wrestlers can get away with wearing black leather/pleather/vinyl/whatever body suits. Jett looks as fit at 55 as she did in the ’80s. Yeah, she can sing, but I bet she can also jump off the top rope and land a flying body splash.

2.New album Unvarnished, Jett’s 10th with The Blackhearts, was well represented. Tracks like “Make It Back” and “TMI” are very clearly part of a linear progression maintaining Jett’s pop-punk sound but not relying solely on nostalgia, instead proving that three-minute rockers hook as hard now as they always have.

3.Jett, whose biggest hits were often covers, dug deep into the bin for karaoke classics. The givens—“I Love Rock ’n’ Roll” (Arrows), “Do You Wanna Touch Me?” (Gary Glitter) and “Crimson and Clover” (Tommy James & The Shondells)—all hit the mark. The encore concluded with a high-voltage take on Sweet’s “A.C.D.C.” and “Everyday People,” Sly & The Family Stone’s song that’s so good, it’s almost impossible to mess it up.

4.The hits kept coming with sing-along jam “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” “Bad Reputation” “The French Song,” and two welcome nods from her Runaways days, “You Drive Me Wild” and “Cherry Bomb.”

5.At first I thought the Eastside Cannery an odd fit for Jett, who made her name in small clubs. But it’s a locals’ casino, and taking the Vegas out of it and viewing it from a neighborhood perspective, any town would have been happy with the spacious converted ballroom. Rock ’n’ roll lives everywhere.

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