Rock pioneer Joan Jett played a special Saturday night set at the Sundance Film Festival in celebration of “The Runaways,” the upcoming film about her ’70s L.A. all-girl rock band of the same name that had its festival premiere Sunday night. Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, the film’s stars, joined Jett on stage.
A private reception sponsored by SPIN, Blackheart Records, Apparition, and FLO TV was held at the Interluxe Lounge just before the show.
It was fitting that Jett ignited her set at Park City’s Harry O’s with “Bad Reputation,” one of the biggest hits of her solo career. She followed with her No. 1 charting anthem “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and her ode to self-loathing, “I Hate Myself for Loving You.”
The standing-room-only audience joined Jett with boisterous screams and shouts of “Oh! Yeah!” during the sassy “Do You Wanna Touch” and gave the stuttering “ch-ch-ch’s” during Jett’s kiss-off version of “Cherry Bomb.”
The audience included Jett’s former Runaways bandmate Cherie Currie, whose book “Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway” was the basis for the film.Jett asked Currie to take a bow and also invited Fanning and Stewart, who portray Currie and herself, respectively, to join the band onstage.
“I think they did a great job,” Jett said, while striking the opening chords to The Runaways’ “You Drive Me Wild.”
She gave her beloved Blackhearts – lead guitarist Dougie Needles, drummer Thommy Price, bassist Enzo, and keyboardist/producer Kenny Laguna – time to bask in the spotlight, whether it was Needle’s rambunctious leads, Price’s animalistic pounding, or Enzo’s booming foundation.Laguna, on the other hand, seemed content to keep to the shadows, like he does as Jett’s producer and partner.
Jett emphasized how important the old adage “staying true to oneself” is in life. “This next song is about looking into the mirror and seeing who you really are,” she said and slipped into “Naked.”
And then, taking a wry spin on that concept during the encore, Jett let loose with “A.C.D.C.” — and wrapped it all up with her take of Sly & the Family Stone’s “Everyday People.”
She also performed covers of Tommy James & the Shondells’ “Crimson and Clover” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Light of Day.”
And Sunday, Currie and Jett were press favorites as they talked about seeing their lives come to the big screen. “To be honest with you, it is literally like I am living a dream and I’m just not waking up,” Currie said.
“I’m excited that people who knew about The Runaways will get reacquainted with them and the people who had no idea will get a chance to discover them,” added Jett.