New Concert Review


28. Jun. 2006, 5:02

I've been busy lately and haven't written anything original for a while, so I'll leave you with this cut-and-paste job from David Shultz at

And if you're a fan of Tom Petty, join the Zombie Zoo:

"Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Celebrate Their Pearl Anniversary
By: David Schultz

When compiling a shortlist of the greatest rock bands of the last thirty years, it's quite likely that Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers wouldn't make the cut. However, next time a classic Petty song comes on the radio; take note: not only will you probably sing along, you'll know all the words.

To celebrate their thirtieth anniversary and the impending release of Petty's latest solo album, Highway Companion, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers are taking their enduring brand of stoner southern rock on the road. This past week, Petty & The Heartbreakers came to Madison Square Garden for their first New York City appearance in three years. Cherry picking from three decades of hits, the Manhattan crowd continuously sang along with Petty while he ran through a set list that, even in the absence of beloved tunes like "The Waiting" and "Breakdown," didn't suffer for recognizable classics.

Fresh off of their co-headlining stint at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Petty played under a set of video screens that provided distracting close-ups of the band throughout the night. Given the relatively good sightlines in the Garden, they were unnecessary; only serving to provoke discussion as to whether the 55-year-old Petty once portrayed Kelly Leak in The Bad News Bears. After opening with the early-era "Listen To Her Heart," the band went right into "You Don't Know How It Feels," marking their first but hardly last foray into Petty's stellar solo material. While egotistic on the surface, the Heartbreakers contributed significantly to Petty's individually-titled efforts, making their inclusion into the show quite appropriate. Petty's 1989 solo album Full Moon Fever received the most attention; the crowd drowning out Petty's voice on the choruses of "Free Fallin'" and "I Won't Back Down" and doing a little hippie headbanging to "Runnin' Down A Dream." In addition to the smoothly rendered reading of "You Don't Know It Feels," they went back to Wildflowers for the encore, an energetic version of "You Wreck Me" that far exceeded its studio counterpart.

Petty spent a portion of the show reclaiming old songs and old melodies: offering a twangy version of the Traveling Wilburys' "Handle With Care," recently covered by Jenny Lewis, Conor Oberst and others, as well as a scorching rendition of "Mary Jane's Last Dance," in which he laid ownership to the guitar line allegedly purloined by Red Hot Chili Peppers for "Dani, California." However, if Petty is truly upset over the similarities between his 1981 hit and the Red Hot's new single, he should perhaps take a look in the proverbial mirror to see if he's a pot calling the Peppers' kettle black; Petty's new single "Saving Grace," seems to borrow just as heavily from John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom."

Perhaps influenced by his recent time at this year's Bonnaroo, Petty sought the crowd's approval to "jam a little bit" in their encore. While they didn't take that moment to experiment with interminable noodling, Petty & The Heartbreakers zipped through a medley-type jam that borrowed as much from the Isley Brothers' "Shout" as it did from Them's "Mystic Eyes." Always eclectic with their covers, Petty nodded to the band's influences earlier in the show; putting down his guitar in favor of a tambourine and maracas while the Heartbreakers quickly ran through The Yardbirds' "I'm A Man" and pre-Stevie Nicks Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well."

Often overshadowed by Petty's subtle superstar status, The Heartbreakers remain an exceptionally tight band, responsible for some of the more subtly ubiquitous songs of a generation. From within his cube of keyboards, Benmont Tench had chances to solo, excelling on the greasy bridge of "Refugee." More than Petty's equal on the guitar, Mike Campbell ceded the center stage guitar theatrics to Petty, throwing off his guitar riffs with modest aplomb. Petty's rhythm section, made up of original Heartbreaker Ron Blair, who returned to the band after a lengthy absence on The Last DJ, and Steve Ferrone, formerly of the Average White Band, toiled admirably in relative anonymity. Likewise, Scott Thurston offered additional guitar, keyboards and the occasional harmonica solo in yeoman fashion.

As she has for the early shows in the tour, Stevie Nicks, the band's "little sister," joined Petty & The Heartbreakers for a reprise of their 1981 hit "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," and took lead on Petty's own "I Need To Know." Wearing a new outfit, Nicks returned a couple songs longer to duet with Petty on a quiet version of the introspective "Insider." Once the ruling earth-mother of seventies rock and roll, Nicks, who thankfully no longer looks like she possesses her own gravitational field, seemed content with a supporting role, singing background far to the right of the stage, spreading her arms wide while providing her distinctive harmony to "Learning To Fly."

Nicks wasn't the only notable name appearing with Petty at the Garden this evening. While fronting Phish, Trey Anastasio used to headline Madison Square Garden regularly; as a solo act, he’s become an illustrious opening act, returning to MSG for the first time since joining The Black Crowes for a memorable New Year's Eve show. Focusing his one hour set on newer songs, Anastasio offered solo faves like "Night Speaks To A Woman" and "Come As Melody" before concluding with a groove-heavy rendition of "First Tube." The fact that Anastasio didn't come back to join Petty & The Heartbreakers during their set might be the only disappointment of his Garden appearance.

Petty & The Heartbreakers have a catalogue broad enough to offer a different show each night. However, the set lists for the early shows have remained substantially similar. Fittingly for a show dedicated to their length career, Petty & The Heartbreakers have been finishing each show with their first true success, the arena anthem "American Girl." While the boys from Gainesville, Florida have had bigger hits, "American Girl" remains the song that tears the house down; the sinuous opening chords drawing raucous shrieks from all the American girls in attendance. Petty's traveling roadshow continues on throughout the summer. While Anastasio occupies himself with his own mini-tour with Phish bassist Mike Gordon and the Benevento Russo Duo for a highly anticipated slate of shows with Phil Lesh & Friends, Pearl Jam and The Allman Brothers Band should provide suitable alternatives in the supporting slot."
Akzeptierte Übermittlungen
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Zombie Zoo


  • chadwick011

    thanks for that review/insight. I've always enjoyed Tom Petty and I've heard his band these days is great and this only seems to reaffirm that. I'm seeing him with the Allmans in August and I can't wait. This only heightened my anticipation...Thanks!

    29. Jun. 2006, 0:01
  • Vyvika

    I saw them last friday with Trey Anastasio, it was awesome to say the least. I saw them last year as well, but last year's show got cut short because it was storming so bad. The power even went out twice during the concert. I'm glad to say we had nice weather for it this time!

    29. Jun. 2006, 22:42
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