Petty and Heartbreakers Delight Fans with Hits
June 18th, 2005
Tweeter Center, Boston MA
By Rory Flynn
Though the weather may have not shown it, summer was definitely in the air
at the Tweeter Center on Saturday night when Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
returned for another memorable performance as part of a classic-rock doubleheader
with the Black Crowes.
Addressing what was said to be the largest crowd in the amphitheater's 20-year history, Petty told the crowd, "We're going to have a lot of fun tonight! We got many songs to play for you." He and his band-mates, the Heartbreakers, delivered on that promises with a two-hour show dedicated almost entirely to their greatest hits. It's been thirty years since their first hit, "Breakdown" (first heard on Boston's WBCN according to Petty) but at age 55 Petty still gave an excellent performance that had all in attendance thoroughly pleased.
Fan favorites such as "Free Fallin'" and "Don't Do Me Like That" got the crowd singing along quickly and the band hit a high point early with "Mary Jane's Last Dance" as Scott Thurston delivered the signature notes with his harmonica before a full guitar jam led by lead guitarist Mike Campbell.
Thanking the crowd after almost every song, Petty was very appreciative and told them after coming to Boston for so many years, it is still " the joy of [his] life to play and see you". With his usual calm yet high energy stage presence, Petty also payed tribute to friend Bob Dylan. First, was "Handle with Care" a hit from the two's time with the Traveling Wilbury's and later in the encore, a cover of Dylan's "Rainy Day Woman #12 &13" that had everyone singing the famous line of "everybody must get stoned."
Besides all the band's greatest hits, there were a couple of rarities included in their set. Most notably was a special rendition of the Animal's "Don't Bring Me Down" (which Petty stated he once played at Boston's The Paradise in 1978). The only low point of the set came on their most recent release, "Melinda" (from the dvd Soundstage, released in January) however the dull track was rescued by pianist Benmont Trench's beautiful solo that was backed with beats by drummer Steve Ferrone. The only other new song played on the night, "Turn This Car Around" (set to be part of an all-new upcoming release) faired a little better.
"Learning To Fly" was stripped down for a slower approach before Cambell was cut loose at the end of the night. "Don't Come Around Here No More" and "Refugee" were highlighted by his blistering solo's before the main set closer of "Runnin' Down a Dream." The night ended in a festive party mode with a sing-along of Petty's most famous song, "American Girl."
The recently reunited Black Crowes were tight on the stage for their opening set that lasted over an hour. The Southern rockers are one of the last surviving bands today that have a stage presence that seems to fit the stereotypical rock and roll image. The stage was draped with candle lights (electronic) and incense while the band sounded great though still falling into a few over-extended repetitive jams.
Surprsingly, the shed was only half-full and many of those sat in their seats during the Black Crowes performance. However, a strong ending of hits "Jealous Again" and "She Talks To Angels" enlivened the crowd. If the reunion continues and brothers Chris and Rich Robinson can get along, it should be both very interesting and exciting to see what the future holds for the Black Crowes. On a side note, actress Kate Hudson, wife of lead singer Chris Robinson, was supposedly in attendance watching the band's set from the side of the stage with the couple's son, Ryder.
If you missed out on this classic doubleheader, be sure to check out both bands when they return together again for another show at the Tweeter Center on July 29. Tickets are still available.