Better Than: Any other act that has played the Super Bowl in this millennium.
See more photos from Tom Petty's concert at Jobing.com Arena in our slideshow.
The arena concert is often an impersonal experience. Paying top dollar for a seat with a brilliant view of a jumbotron hardly makes any sense at all. In Tom Petty’s case, the separation of the arena rock show coupled with his decision to play the Super Bowl this year (Do you really want to follow in the footsteps of Aerosmith, Janett Jackson and Justin Timberlake, Mr. Petty?) and an increase in ticket prices is leaving even his diehard fans a little disenchanted.
Steve Winwood kicked things off with his psychadelic funked-up sounds. He mixed a few of his old hits along with some of his newer tunes, which hint at jazz more than pop, layered with flute, synth, and sax. He moved semlessly from one song to the next, and gave the people an encore without even leaving the stage.
When Petty hit the stage, it only took one note from the Heartbreakers opening song “You Wreck Me” to quell any doubts that this was to be a great rock show. What followed was a tour around his classic catalog. He played way more than just his newer stuff including the fan-favorite "American Girl" which plastered smiles on just about everyone.
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Age brings changes and while Petty hasn’t quite enrolled in the Keith Richards school of rockstar mummification, you can tell from his performance that he’s getting on in years. For a singer, age can bring about scary changes in voice quality and range. While Petty’s voice is quite a bit more nasal than it was in his younger days, (if you can believe that) he can still belt out the high notes. Petty enlisted the help of back up singers to carry some weight, but who can fault the guy?
Petty didn’t disappoint in the slightest. We only wish the crowd would have been a bit more mindful of their concert etiquette. Each time the Heartbreakers belted out a slightly less radio-played tune, certain audience members took it as a cue to find the bathroom and visit the concession stand. These same heathens even had the audacity to speak during guitar solos. Learn to respect your elders, dudes.
Random Detail: Tom Petty did a call and response duet with the audience in “Breakdown.”
Personal Bias: Right before Tom broke into “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” the usher in my section appeared to be searching for the source of an herbal smell.