Crowd Thrilled By A Couple Of Toms
By Mark Plymale
The Commonwealth-TImes – July 29, 1980
From beginning to end, the show was delightful. The cool air in the Mosque was a remedy for the oppresive heat outside, and the show began precisely at eight. The four-piece opening band, Tommy Tutone from San Francisco, played straight rock and roll with little thrills. The songs were short, briskly performed, and clever, with lead singer Tommy Heath’s powerfully expressive vocals the strongest asset. Standout numbers in the 45-minute set were “Angel Say No” and “Cheap Date.” The crowd received them well enough to merit an encore, but they didn’t get one.
After a brief intermission, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (guitarist Mike Campbell, drummer Stan Lynch, bassist Ron Blair and keyboards player Benmont Tench) — from Florida — took the stage to a boisterous welcome. For over two hours, Petty and band put on a thoroughly professional show. Tom’s stage presence was a mixture of polished veteran and ingenuous newcomer, with his every gesture and vocal inflection adding to the music.
Petty and the Heartbreakers played songs from each of their three albums, as well as an unrecorded original and the oldie “Shout.” Audience response was loudest for newer songs “Refugee,” “Here Comes My Girl,” and “Don’t Do Me Like That,” although even older numbers were acknowledged heartily — a sign that this audience was familiar with the Heartbreakers’ repertoire.
Renditions of all the songs were strong and crisp, and more than just cursory duplications of the recorded versions. In concert, the band was allowed to stretch out and improvise, which gave the audience evidence of just how talented and how supple the band is. As riveting and dynamic as Petty’s stage presence was, the Heartbreakers were equally impressive.
At the end of the Heartbreakers’ fourth and last encore number, the house lights finally came on and signaled an end to a remarkable night of rock and roll entertainment.