By Steven Rea and Ken Tucker
Charleston News and Courier — January 17, 1986
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ double album, “Pack Up the Plantation — Live!” (MCA) offers the Southern rocker and his band in concert, and as live albums go, this one goes well.
Included are some of the affably unpretentious singer-guitarist’s big hits plus some oldies that obviously had a big impact on the teen-age Petty, growing up in Florida. “Needles and Pins,” the mid-60s Searchers hit, is given a particularly inspired reading, with Petty’s nasal timbre complemented by the nasal (in a higher register) tones of Stevie Nicks (she’s also featured on “Insider”). And Petty pays tribute to Roger McGuinn and the Byrds, doing “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star,” a song he has virtually made his own.
Like most live collections, this one has its share of filler, most notably “Breakdown.” This is one of Petty’s best songs but here he just turns it over to the crowd. And who needs a record of 10,000 Tom Petty fans mumbling the chorus and clapping off the beat?