Thursday, October 10, 2013

Who is Heart?: WSU director of engineering remembers their live studio performance

Lindsey Treffry,

In 1976, Don Peters didn’t know who Heart was.
Associated Press Ann Wilson, left, and Nancy Wilson of the band Heart pose together at the "Who Shot Rock and Roll" photo exhibition opening at the Annenberg Space for Photography on Thursday June 21, 2012 in Los Angeles. I had never heard of the group before,” said Peters, a crew member for “Second Ending” a show that featured a few concerts each month at Washington State University’s KWSU-TV studio. “We got them to come over and record a concert in our studios. They got here and I thought, ‘Man, these guys are good.’”

Produced and directed by Michael Costones, “Second Ending” would air on stations across the Northwest. Heart signed on to perform the show, and a live studio audience was on site.

Heart’s “Dreamboat Annie,” which led to the band’s breakthrough later that year, was yet to be released, but the band performed hits such as “Magic Man” and “Crazy On You.”

I was running video, setting up the cameras, and shooting and adjusting to the different light conditions,” said Peters, who is now director of engineering for the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at WSU.

A screen grab from the 1976 KWSU live studio performance.Camera operators had to press their earsets tight to their heads to hear director’s orders, and Peters said despite being in the control room, he could feel the bass through the floor.

The band featured lead singer Ann Wilson and her sister, Nancy Wilson, guitarist. Guitarist Roger Fisher, drummer Michael Derosier and guitarist, bassist and synth player Howard Leese joined them in the recording.

A woman rocker fronting a band was kind of new to me,” Peters said. “Ann’s voice was just tremendous.”

Peters said it still blows him away that Heart even considered playing at WSU during the band’s break-out year.

You never know who you’ll come in contact with,” Peters said. “The band — they’re good, but you didn’t know how good at the time.”

Video of the 1976 studio performance can be seen on Heart’s 2012 retrospective collection “Strange Euphoria,” a DVD and four-CD set.

The Wilson sisters return to Pullman, playing at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Beasley Coliseum.

As seen in the Oct. 10 issue of Inland 360.