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Petty invades the Spectrum
By David L. Criblez
The Villanovan — February 16, 1990
Bo & Luke Duke, fear not, because America’s favorite rebel, Tom Petty, is carrying on the southern tradition with his moonshine rock that seeped into the Philadelphia Spectrum Feb. 6.
The killer opening synthesizer made the hair ride on the necks of thousands of fans as the tune “Love Is A Long Road,” from his multi-platinum disc Full Moon Fever, whipped the concert into a powerful early rage. “A Heart With A Mind Of Its Own,” also from Fever, led as a nice bridge to the classic crowd sing-a-long “Breakdown,” only to be backed up by two new classics “I Won’t Back Down” and “Free Fallin’.”
The rustic stage set was similar with the living room of Theodore Roosevelt, complete with a stuffed bear, mounted horns, a totem pole and wooden floor boards. It showed a special fresh-air feeling.
The evening’s highlight was definitely the outstanding version of “Don’t Come Around Here No More.” The tune started with Petty opening up a treasure chest that gleamed with bright lights. He then pulled out his trademark Mad Hatter country-bumpkin top hat (from his infamous MTV video). The performance was complete with a strobe light and a climax that showed Petty staggering back to the treasure chest, plopping down the hat and slamming the chest shut, closing the song.
Petty and his boys broke into a second set of mellow songs, from the classic “Stories We Could Tell” to new tunes such as “Depending On You” and his new single, “Face In The Crowd.”
He also dedicated a song “(We Got To) Get It Together” to Greenpeace, whose members flooded the concert hallways next to the T-shirt stands, saying “Remember, if there’s no earth, it’s gonna cut into your rock-n-roll time.”
A buffet of old Petty classics with some new favorites was served up as the evening’s entree. Songs such as “Rebels,” “You Got Lucky,” and the trademark “Refugee” mixed with the new “Yer So Bad” were capped off with a cracking version of recent hit, “Runnin’ Down A Dream.”
Petty returned to quench the crowd’s eager thirst for more with encores, “The Waiting” and “American Girl.”
The concert greatly pleased the crowd, but it had two flaws. First, the new songs and the older hits could have been mixed up a bit rather than divided into a group of new ones, a group of mellow ones and a group of old rock-and-roll standards. Also, Petty’s two best singles, “Don’t Do Me Like That” and “Jammin’ Me,” were absent. But all in all, Petty and his Heartbreakers were in fine form.
Reggae bluesy funkster Lenny Kravitz opened the show. It seemed that he would be better off in a club on South Street, where he would be more appreciated. He played his hits “Let Love Rule” and “Does Anybody Out There Even Care?” That’s something he should ask himself before he went on stage.