US Airways Center
October 7, 2010
Phoenix fans had to wait a few extra weeks to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Once the veteran heartland rocker took the stage, though, they didn't have to wait for the hits. Petty came out swinging, opening with four of his more successful singles: "Listen to Her Heart," "You Don't Know How It Feels," ""I Won't Back Down" and "Free Fallin.'"
It was the last night of Petty's current tour and it felt like it. The Florida native, who turns 60 in two weeks, seemed sharp but not eager after months on the road. That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially since Petty and his five-piece band seemed ready to indulge fans of his best-selling record. That is, of course, his diamond-certified 1993 greatest hits album.
Actually, the loyal but not-near capacity Phoenix crowd earned the straight-forward, hit-heavy set it got. The ill-fated September 26 show (Petty was battling sinus and throat infections, we're told) was actually itself a makeup date for a May show bounced back because the band's new record, Mojo, was late out the door.
Five months later, it hardly mattered whether Mojo was on shelves. An announcer informed the crowd that they could download the album for free by texting a special number ("The price was included in the ticket... You already paid for it!" the voice declared) before the show but it didn't look like any area cell towers were in danger of exploding from a sudden onslaught. Mojo's first track, "Jefferson Jericho Blues," didn't get played until late in the hour and 45 minute set. After Petty pulled a deep cut, "Kings Highway," from 1991's Into The Great Wide Open, mind you.
Mojo's "Good Enough," which followed, may have caused beer lines to double in length (there was a lot of alcohol consumed at this show considering it was on a Thursday night) were it not the time the light guy decided to flip on the pretty green laser beams.
"Learning To Fly," which began simply with Petty strumming his acoustic guitar and had a fantastic piano part added in, was the night's stand-out offering. "American Girl," which came during the encore, along with "Breakdown" and "Mary Jane's Last Dance," which had nifty guitar solos added in, were other highlights.
Pretty much what you'd expect, right?
Showing up is, they say, 80 percent of success. A heavy dose of material from a greatest hits record that's sold more than 10 million copies is enough to take care of the other 20 percent. At least on the last night of a long tour.
Personal Bias: Anti old white dudes playing the Super Bowl halftime show and anti Florida but otherwise pro-Petty..
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Overheard in the Crowd: "Maybe you're too old for a rock 'n' roll show? Either that or you're just a rude bastard, I don't know which..." That was actually me addressing the old dude in a concert t-shirt sitting in front of me who threw something at a young couple that dared stand, blocking his view, during a non-hit. He then laughed about it with his old bag until I told him what was up. Super lame, guys.
Random Notebook Dump: What's up with Trey Anastacio beard? Spinning eyeball surrounded by colored rings and psychedelic art during don't come around here no more - crazy. Actual lighters?!
Setlist: I have faith that a really good one will be posted here shortly.