Petty starting to let go.
Story and Photos by Terry MayerDuring the eighties, when MTV was hitting it's stride and actually showed videos, one video always stood out. That one of a little man in a mad hatters outfit doing a twisted take on the Alice in Wonderland story.
Tom Petty, who lost the big hat years ago, and the Heartbreakers made their way to the Marcus Amphitheater on the Fourth of July with a rousing bang. Playing the seasoned elder with a scruffy beard, he sauntered onto the stage and didn't waste any time kickin' some ass. He opened with the edgy, but still anchored in the rhythm, "Running Down A Dream" which set the tone and kept it up with the tougher-than-nails anthem "I Won't Back Down" in which the audience nearly drowned out Petty during the chorus.
On "Breakdown" the band held court while their master conducted the sparkling rhythms. Petty and the boys even broke out "Here Comes My Girl" and "Even the Losers" which he rarely plays live. Petty also played some sterling renditions of "Learning to Fly," "Into the Great Wide Open" and "Refugee." You tend to forget how many hits this band has generated in the last twenty years until you hear them played all at one sitting.
To enhance the evening's rock gala even further he dipped into his hat of yesterday and did a rousingly simple, but sweet version of the classic Booker T. and the MG's hit "Green Onions."
This wily old rocker, yes he is getting older, didn't produce anything new, but revisiting some real straight forward rock n' roll can be just as refreshing.
Opening for Petty and slightly setting the tone for the evening was '70's social activist and sometimes rocker Jackson Browne. His 45 minute set consisted of his rootsy pop-rock that, along with the Eagles, helped to define the '70's California sound. His rather mellow and uninspired set consisted of his hits like "The Pretender," "Running on Empty" and closing his gig with "Doctor My Eyes."
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