INTERVIEW: Nancy Wilson of Heart still kicking at age 70

Heart is at State Farm Arena May 10.
Nancy Wilson (left) and Ann Wilson of Heart perform at the eighth annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit Concert in 2012 in Los Angeles.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Nancy Wilson (left) and Ann Wilson of Heart perform at the eighth annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit Concert in 2012 in Los Angeles.

Nancy Wilson, at age 70, can still perform her signature kick move while sporting her guitar.

“I can do that and more!” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on a Zoom call from her home in Sonoma, California, on the eve of the 2024 Heart tour. “I can’t not dance and move.”

The tour, which will run throughout the year, started April 20 in Greenville, South Carolina, and stops at State Farm Arena May 10 with Cheap Trick opening. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster starting at $35 apiece.

It’s the first time they’ve hit the road since 2019, when the band played Ameris Bank Amphitheatre in Alpharetta.

“I’m happy for us to be together again,” she said. “It’s been a little too long for us to get back out there.”

Sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson of Heart play a set of hits before Def Leppard's set from 2011 in Atlanta.

Credit: Robb D. Cohen /

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Credit: Robb D. Cohen /

Wilson said a combination of the pandemic and behind-the scenes management changes delayed Heart’s return. For the first time, the sisters have different managers, resulting in what she called “power grabbing” disputes.

“There were extra moving parts to sort out what was highly unnecessary drama,” she said. “We finally sorted it out and now we’re here.”

The band spent more than a week in rehearsals before the tour began.

“There are a lot of things about Heart songs that are not simple,” Wilson said. “There are intricacies in these songs to get right.”

At the same time, perfection is not the goal: “It will be fun regardless of the mistakes that we make. In my view, it’s definitely a human show.”

Heart uses no pre-recorded music. Every note is live.

“Last New Year’s Eve, we had only done our third show with this lineup. We had to start a song over,” she said. “We forgot to transpose the keyboard. People were surprisingly appreciative of the mistake we made. Sometimes, the imperfections are the perfection of it.”

The bottom line is she still gets plenty of joy being on stage performing rock classics like “Magic Man,” “Barracuda” and “Crazy on You,” along with “These Dreams,” in which she sings lead.

The rituals before the concert, though, are far different than they were in the cocaine-addled 1980s. Now it’s a diffuser with calming scents, homeopathic Arnica pellets to reduce swelling, Vitamin C pills and a yoga room backstage.

“We used to be made out of rubber in our thirties,” she said. “We now have a wellness space for massage and strengthening.”

Over the decades, both sisters have worked in other bands, but they always come back to Heart, which Wilson dubs “the family business.”

“We’ve had a band together since I was like nine,” she said. “We’ve always been tight and soulmates and best friends. We’ve had our ups and downs. Mostly outside influences have made it challenging for us to find our emotional footing with each other. But first and foremost we are sisters. And secondly, we have to steer this business venture.”

Part of the business is doing publicity and she has been entirely game this go around. For instance, earlier this month, she grinned through a cheeky version of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” with Jimmy Fallon during the actual eclipse.

“We have been friends with Jimmy for a long time,” she said. “I knew him when he made a cameo in ‘Almost Famous,’” the classic 2000 film from her ex-husband Cameron Crowe to which she contributed original music.

And she had no problem jousting with Howard Stern. “We actually really hit it off,” she said. “I knew him when he was more of an [expletive]. He’s turned into a real human now. He’s become a real masterful interviewer.”

That extensive Stern interview included tidbits like the Van Halen brothers wanting to hook up with the Wilson sisters, which she said did not happen, as well as an extensive discussion of their 2012 cover of “Stairway to Heaven” in front of the living members of Led Zeppelin, who were being honored by the Kennedy Center.

“It was such a beautiful moment,” she said. “It connects the feeling of history in rock and roll, the through line that ‘Stairway to Heaven’ brings us to modern day culture. People are still discovering how significant and emotional that connection can be today.”

Their respect and adoration for Led Zeppelin has never waned and there is a 100% chance they will cover at least one Zeppelin song at State Farm Arena.

“We have to try to not do too many Zeppelin songs!” she said, with a chuckle. “We can’t help it!”

They’ve also come to embrace their legendary status as many of their peers start to retire.

“People say we’re the grandmothers of rock and roll and broke the glass ceiling,” Wilson said. “It’s true. When ‘Dreamboat Annie’ came out in 1975, there were no female role models for us.”


Heart with Cheap Trick

8 p.m. Friday, May 10. Tickets starting at $35. State Farm Arena, 1 State Farm Drive, Atlanta.