A ‘Royal Flush’: Rock trailblazer Heart reunites for new song, world tour playing Rosemont’s Allstate

Heart — the pioneering band that melds Nancy Wilson’s shredding guitar with her sister Ann’s powerhouse vocals — is hitting the road this spring and fall for a world tour that Nancy Wilson describes as “the full-on rocker size.” They’re headlining Rosemont’s Allstate Arena Friday, May 17, with Cheap Trick as the opener.

“I’ve been strengthening. I’ve got my trainer,” she says. “You go one day at a time and you strengthen one workout session at a time. It’s a lot of work, but it’s the only job I know how to do.”

The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers who gave us classic tracks like “Magic Man,” “Crazy on You” and “Alone” will be playing all the hits, some tracks from of their solo albums — like Ann Wilson's “Miss One and Only” and Nancy Wilson's “Love Mistake” — and a new song called “Roll the Dice.”

“I like to say we have really good problems, because the problem we have is to choose between a bunch of different, really cool songs that people love already,” says Nancy Wilson.

Like “Barracuda,” a sonic burst that first appeared on the band’s second album, “Little Queen,” and is one of the band’s most memorable songs.

“You can’t mess with ‘Barracuda,’” says Nancy Wilson, left, of Heart. She and her sister Ann will be headlining Allstate Arena May 17. Associated Press, 2014

“You can’t mess with ‘Barracuda.’ It’s just the way it is. It is great. You get on the horse and you ride. It’s a galloping steed of a ride to go on. And for everybody, including the band.”

The band’s “Royal Flush Tour” will have Cheap Trick as the opening act for many stops, including Rosemont, but Def Leppard and Journey will join for three stadium dates in Cleveland, Toronto and Boston this summer.

Ann and Nancy Wilson will be filled out by Ryan Wariner (lead and rhythm guitar), Ryan Waters (guitars), Paul Moak (guitars, keyboards and backing vocals), Tony Lucido (bass and backing vocals) and Sean T. Lane (drums).

The tour is the first in several years for Heart, which was rocked by a body blow in 2016 when Ann Wilson’s husband was arrested on charges of assaulting Nancy’s 16-year-old twin sons. Nancy Wilson says that's all in the past.

“We can take any kind of turbulence, me and Ann, and we’ve always been OK together,” she says. “We’re still steering the ship and happy to do it together. So we’re tight.”

The new tour will take them to Canada, which was warm to the band when they were starting out as what Nancy Wilson calls “a couple of chicks from Seattle.” She recalls Vancouver embracing Heart, and touring in one van across Canada in the dead of winter on two lane highways.

There’s no slowing down rockers Nancy, left, and Ann Wilson of Heart, who will be playing Rosemont’s Allstate Arena on their “Royal Flush Tour” Friday, May 17. Associated Press, 2013

The Wilson sisters broke rock’s glass ceiling in the ’70s, and Nancy Wilson says they only had male influences to look to, like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Moody Blues.

Now she says she looks out and loves seeing generations of female rockers. “You have boygenius and you have Billie Eilish and you have Olivia Rodrigo and so many amazing women — Maggie Rogers and Sheryl Crow, who calls us her big influence. And then Billie Eilish might have Sheryl Crow as her influence. So it’s a really nice legacy to pass along. I like to say we’re the OG — the original gangsters — of women and rock.”

Heart has made it into the Rock Hall, won Grammys, sold millions of albums and rocked hundreds of thousands of fans, but Nancy Wilson has one place she’d still like to shine.

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of their debut album, “Dreamboat Annie,” which was the same year that “Saturday Night Live” started. “So we’re actually kind of putting it out there — Heart never played on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ But what about the 50th birthday party with Heart?”

• • •

Heart’s “Royal Flush Tour”

With Cheap Trick

When: 8 p.m. Friday, May 17

Where: Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont, (847) 635-6601,

Tickets: $35-$169 at

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