JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS
8 p.m., Saturday, March 22, 2014, Treasure Island Resort & Casino, 5734 Sturgeon Lake Road, Welch, MN, 1-877-849-1640, www.treasureislandcasino.com, $35 & $45.
It was the summer of 1982 when Duffy's was still a viable venue for live music. It was located in the infamous 'Hub of Hell', right on the corner of 26th Av. S. and E. 26th St. The raggy carpet held more dirt than the vacuum could lift out. There were deep gouges in the bar that were filled in with lots of varnish. The toilets were almost clean, the pool tables were flat and they had an "Asteroids" machine near the fire exit.
One was playing Asteroids while guzzling beer to maintain a good buzz for the show that night. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were coming, on tour promoting their "I Love Rock and Roll" album. They were a bit more polished than The Runaways but grittier and very loud. A feminine hand put several quarters on the machine and a raspy voice said, "Let the machine win, OK? I've got sound check in 30."
A quick glance confirmed that it was indeed Joan Jett herself. She smiled with half of her mouth, much like Elvis Presley's smug little grin, and accepted the offer to play first. She also accepted the flattering remarks about her first album with a quick thanks and said "I'm glad you're a fan but I'm gonna kick your ... at this game."
She lost three of five but was very gracious in defeat. Sound check went well and she passed along a guitar pick as a parting gift. One held the memory much longer than she did and it lingers on to this day, a bonus since that was a fairly liquid summer. Her performance was high energy, gritty and loud as stated and that has not changed over the years. There will be no rematch. Asteroids and Duffy's are both long gone but the music remains just as important as it was back then.