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Petty show filled with greatest hits
By Steve Morse
Wilmington Star-News — April 14, 1995
BOSTON — Rock veteran Tom Petty knows a venerable rock arena when he sees one. “It’s a real privilege to make it into Boston Garden before it’s gone,” Petty said to a sold-out crowd that appreciated his gesture, but appreciated his full-tilt, damn-the-torpedoes night of rock ‘n’ roll even more.
His show was filled with greatest hits (we often take for granted how many he’s had), but also offered much more, from a surf instrumental played in Ventures-like style by guitarist Mike Campbell, to a gut-busting, Muddy Waters-flavored blues, I Just Want to Make Love with You.
Unlike his last two tours, Mr. Petty, who played at Walnut Creek in Raleigh on Wednesday, is focusing more on music this trip. He plays tonight at the Blockbuster Pavilion in Charlotte. Tickets are still available. Those last tours were prop-laden extravaganzas in which Mr. Petty ran around like an actor in a movie. His 1991 show at Great Woods even found him hustling around a giant tree house on stage. Fun for the moment, but Petty has always been known for music first, so it was nice to see the emphasis back on that Tuesday night. There are no props to speak of on a minimalist stage.
There was nothing quiet about the show as it gathered steam, however. Mr. Petty played more of his own guitar leads than usual. Several leads were explosive.
Mr. Petty’s vocals were mixed poorly when the show started, but picked up with the early, garage-rocking Listen to Her Heart, the proud I won’t Back Down, and the mesmerizing Free Falling.
Dressed ultra-casually in jeans and black sneakers, Mr. Petty followed with another of his humorous relationship songs, You Wreck Me, played from his new disc, Wildflowers.
Mr. Petty soon embarked on a semi-unplugged set that included a vampy drug song with the reference “I’m in love with a girl who loves marijuana.” He sung it very nasally, as though parodying Bob Dylan, with whom he toured in the late-’80s. Mr. Petty commented on the “gratuitous drug references” of the song, but said he wasn’t using any on stage.
Mr. Petty and the Heartbreakers (which included new drummer Steve Ferrone, a power-drumming workhorse who has toured with Eric Clapton), then reignited their chiming electric rock on past hits Refugee, Running Down a Dream and the new, unrecorded Daydreaming Down to Georgia.