ANAHEIM, California For the first time in almost a quarter of a century, former Runaways Joan Jett and Cherie Currie appeared onstage together to bang out the seminal girl-band staple "Cherry Bomb."
Topping her hour-plus show Saturday night with the Blackhearts, Jett surprised the Sun Theatre crowd by introducing her childhood friend and ex-bandmate, who emerged in basic black instead of her once-trademark lingerie. Each appearing considerably younger than her 40 years, the ladies tore through the 1976 number like two sex-craved, rebellious teenagers born again Currie singing and Jett playing guitar as though they were seducing and serenading each other. The song ended with Currie bowing at Jett's feet and the two sharing a hug and kiss.
"I was in the moment I wasn't flashing back," Jett said afterward. "I was enjoying watching Cherie have fun, and I was having fun."
For Currie, the reunion was more nostalgic. "When we got onstage for soundcheck today, it was like a miracle, because we looked at each other and it was like 25 years earlier," she said. "This is the same kind of thrill as when we first walked onstage at the Santa Monica Civic [Auditorium] with Cheap Trick in 1976."
Both Jett and Currie say they're open to a full-fledged Runaways reunion if all the pieces fall into place. "When the timing is right, it will happen," Currie said, noting that guitarist Lita Ford recently gave birth to her second child.
Though drummer Sandy West was in attendance at Saturday's show, she did not perform with her former bandmates. Jett opted to have Currie join her and the Blackhearts rather than stage a quasi-Runaways reunion because she didn't feel it would be right without Ford, according to Jett's manager, Kenny Laguna.
Jett and Currie last played together in Japan in the summer of 1977. Following the departure of bassist Jackie Fox, Currie left the group, leaving Jett to assume lead vocal duties until the Runaways disbanded in 1979. Both Jett and Ford went on to successful solo careers, and Currie pursued acting and formed a band with her twin sister, Marie.
"I never in a million years thought that Joan was ever going to ask me onstage with her," Currie said. "I truly just can't believe it. I've dreamt about it, but Joan's got her thing, and I'm just there, and I support her and go to her shows."
Jett, who spent most of the last year playing Columbia in the Broadway revival of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," is currently doing spot dates with the Blackhearts. Her set list features staples such as "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," "Bad Reputation" and "I Hate Myself for Loving You," along with an eclectic batch of covers past favorites such as "Love Is All Around" (the theme to "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"), Sly & the Family Stone's "Everyday People" and the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog," plus a punked-up version of the "Rocky Horror" track "Science Fiction" and the Replacements' "Androgynous."
Both "Science Fiction" and "Androgynous" should appear on Joan Jett & the Blackhearts' next album, which is awaiting a release date from Warner Bros., Laguna said.
A documentary about the Runaways, produced and directed by former bassist Victory "Vicki Blue" Tischler-Blue, is in the works (see "Rare Joan Jett, Lita Ford Footage To Appear In Runaways Movie"). Jett is not cooperating with the project.