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Listen Up! Rock
Review by Greg Magarian
The Milwaukee Journal — January 12, 1986
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers — “Pack Up the Plantation — Live” — MCA
This two-record set documents Petty’s rise to the heights of the American rock scene, a process crowned b last year’s outstanding “Southern Accents” LP. The album is programmed as well as it is time, containing solid performances of most of Petty’s big hits — “Breakdown,” “The Refugee,” et al — along with some great cover selections.
Petty is no Springsteen on stage; most of the tracks are simply energetic recreations of the studio versions, with a little more room for ace guitarist Mike Campbell to cut loose. Petty does transform one of his best tunes, “The Waiting,” from a standard rocker to a spare, restrained slice of pathos, and Stevie Nicks shows up to add vocal support on “The Insider.”
But the real treats for Petty fans are the covers — another Nicks duet on “Needles and Pins,” a party-velocity “Shout,” and faithful cracks at “Don’t Bring Me Down” and “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” that will make you forget the ’70s ever happened. The mix of such inspired cover choices with a well-performed bunch of Petty’s own standouts make this album a good bet for anyone who still loves rock ‘n’ roll.