From Tom Petty, A Live Performance
By Steven Rea
The Philadelphia Inquirer — January 5, 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 – “Refugee,” “The Waiting” and ”You Got Lucky” – plus some oldies that obviously had a big impact on the teenage 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 (Nicks is also featured on “Insider”), while 12-string electric guitars twang wildly away. 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 – a driving, dramatic rock tune – 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?