Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers 7-15-08 Sunrise (With Steve Winwood)

First, a special thank you to Mary and Stephanie for arranging the tickets for last night’s Tom Petty show at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida (aka Fort Lauderdale). The seats were spectacular (134, Row 11) right near the front of the stage. No need for the video screens or binoculars. This was my first live Tom Petty show and it was memorable. I picked up the seats at Will-Call without any hassle, though due to the weather they managed to hide the Will-Call both inside 🙂 Karen and Greg went with me.

So, a brief flashback: I want to let everyone know I have Damn the Torpedoes on vinyl from when it was originally released. Thus, I come by my affection for the band honestly. The disc was given to me by my Auntie Jimmy who got some promo albums from a friend: this was one of those. I still have it along with the gold “not for resale” on the cover. In absence of a record player, I’m now listening to CDs.

My friend Cathy Buffington for many years was the president of Mr. Petty’s fan club. He thanks her inside the box set even. Yep, in the album credits. How cool is that? Although Tom’s come to Florida before, he rarely comes south. And when he does it’s usually way the hell up in West Palm. It’s just never worked out. So when he announced this latest tour, I was stoked. Cathy had offered in the past to hook me up with tickets, and since I’ve known her for over 24 years, I finally asked her if she might arrange it. She put me in touch with Mary.

I’ll be honest there was some despair when I didn’t hear back from Mary for over a month. But then the e-mail came with a form to fill out (name, credit card, combination to your safe deposit box, the usual stuff). I sent it in and two days before the show the e-mail with the “pick up your tickets” note came and I was happy. I called Cathy to thank her. We now return to the present.

We met at 6:30Pm, ate some food, and then settled in to watch the opening act Steve Winwood. I happen to like him and have two of his CDs as well. I’m not a real fan, liking the hits that we all know such as Higher Love. Most opening acts run 30 to 40 minutes. Steve started just about five minutes late and went on for over one full hour. That alone was surprising and welcome — except for the stupid blabbering women behind us who wouldn’t shut their traps.

The stage cleared, and the roadies commenced setting up for Tom and the Heartbreakers. He started at around 910 and played until about 1110 without intermission. And he played non-stop except to talk to the audience a few words here and there. As loud as he was, he couldn’t drown out those skanky hos behind us who wouldn’t shut up about their hair, boyfriends, food, traffic, and everything else except the music. All efforts to shut them up were met with rude comments and ill-mannered behaviour. Enough about them.

Tom played hit after hit after hit. His band was in FINE form, especially Mr. Campbell who tore through the songs with a vengeance. It was like listening to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits. He also played an obligatory Travelling Wilburys’ tune which was a rocking, fun experience. There was a brief shunt off stage for “the encore game” wherein he returned to the solo spotlight aiming at the mike. The concert ended with an extended rendition of American Girl.

I’d love to give you the set list, but I was too busy having fun to write it down: there was Mary Jane, You Don’t Know How It Feels, American Girl, Refugee, Learning to Fly, Don’t Come Around Here No More, Running Down a Dream, I Won’t Back Down, and so much more. It was just amazing to hear how fresh even the old songs sounded. As baked as Tom looked — and everyone was commenting on it — he was fantastic from the first note to the last. And speaking of baked, this concert had the second most pot smoke of any concert I’ve ever been to, only the Eagles beat this one out. This isn’t a complaint, but an observation. I think if you were there, you got a buzz just from being there – the legendary contact high. Pretty impressive that the cops didn’t drag people out because it was obvious.

The staging was cool too. How could I forget? The top of the stage had a semi-circle of white translucent panels that looked like kitchen tiles. But they were video screens. There were also metal cages reminiscent of the Borg Cube all over which were also video and light display units. Behind the stage were light bulbs that glowed in various colours. It was visually appealing and added the enjoyment.

And again, one last statement. They sounded really good. I mean REALLY good. It’s hard for a band to sound better than their albums. They’re one of the few that pulls it off. Even Steve Winwood sounded better when he was up there with Tom and the Heartbreakers instead of his own band 🙂

Tom Petty 2008 Tour Set List:
This is from memory and I’m sure it’s not perfect, especially the second song of the encore. And no promises on the song order, but I tried. (Set list order and content corrected 6-18-08 with assistance via e-mail and comment.)

You Wreck Me
Listen to Her Heart
Mary Jane’s Last Dance
I Wont Back Down
Even The Losers
Free Fallin’
Honey Bee
End Of Line (sounded just like the Wilburys too.)
Can’t Find My Way Home (w/Steve Winwood)
Gimme Some Lovin’ (w/Steve Winwood)
Saving Grace
You Don’t Know How It Feels
Learning To Fly
Don’t Come Around Here No More
Runnin’ Down A Dream
Mystic Eyes
American Girl

Some ‘tard named “Richard” posted a comment, and I approve 99% of all comments whether or not they’re nice. I rejected his. He accused me of not going to the concert, making up my review, and of it being MY FAULT that the other asshole stole my (original and incorrect) set list. I deleted it rather than give him his two minutes. Or maybe he IS the asshole who stole the set list. (He conveniently ignored the fact I clearly stated the set list wasn’t yet accurate.)

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