DISCussion: Tom Petty in Concert And On Vinyl
Review by Mike E.
The College Chips — March 25, 1983
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played in Cedar Rapids a couple weekends ago and I was fortunate enough to see the concert. So this week, to add a little variety, I will talk about the concert then review their latest album, “Long After Dark.”
I got a call from an old friend last week and he said he had tickets to the Tom Petty concert. Not being a big Tom Petty fan, I asked who the warmup band was. He said that it was Paul Carrack and Nick Lowe and Noise To Go. I decided to go as Nick Lowe is one of my favorites and Paul Carrack ain’t bad either.
I was in for a pleasant surprise. It was one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.
Paul Carrack and company were a fine band with one problem; their lead guitar player was not very good. Every lead he played sounded like the one before. But they were worth seeing to hear the excellent songs.
Carrack and Lowe basically took turns singing their own songs. Carrack sang “Tempted,” “How Long (Has This Been Going On?,” “I Need You,” a bit from his new album, plus a few more. Nick the Knife sang some of his newer songs but the highlights were two songs from ’79, “Cracking Up” and “Switchboard Susan.”
Even for a big Nick Lowe fan like me, T.P. and the Heartbreakers was the real highlight. I don’t own any of his records but I still could recognize most of the songs from the radio. The band played really tight. Except for a couple songs they stretched out so Petty could have some fun with his audience, the songs sounded almost like records.
Petty seemed to enjoy the audience. He got close to them at the front an sides of the stage, and he had the lights turned on the audience so he could see if the crowd was having fun. But he wasn’t doing all of this just for a show; he looked like he was having fun.
The band had couple of surprises in store. They played a rousing rendition of “Hang on Sloopy” midway through the show. And for their first encore they played “Shout,” an old song made popular by “Animal House” and all frat dances since.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers looked comfortable on stage, and it showed through during the entertaining, great set.
“Long After Dark” is the latest lp by T.P. and the Heartbreakers. I believe it is their fifth. It has the signature Petty sound — accessible hard rock. All the songs on the lp are original. Petty, with the occasional help of Mike Campbell, wrote all the songs.
Two songs that are getting airplay are “You Got Lucky” and “Change of Heart.” Both of those songs are good; every song on the record is good. The whole record is consistent, but I do have some personal favorites. “Finding Out” on the first side and “The Same Old You” and “Between Two Worlds” on side two are my picks. Interestingly, Campbell gets partial credit on all three cuts. The first two are both fast songs. “Between Two Worlds” is slower and has some good guitar. I found Campbell a surprisingly good guitar player and I noticed especially in this song.
I was surprised to see how much I like this lp and how much I liked T.P. in concert. They play an interesting brand of mainstream rock and roll. It isn’t original or new, it’s just good. ★★★★