Talent in Action
Review by Roman Kozak
Billboard — August 12, 1978
Tom Petty & Heartbreakers | Derringer | Carillo | Palladium, New York
It was almost like an old-time battle of the bands when Tom Petty, Derringer and Carillo clashed head-on before less than capacity, but fully enthusiastic crowd at the Palladium July 14.
It was Carillo’s birthday and he had his friends up in front. Derringer brought in some outside help with Ted Nugent making a brief appearance. But the winner turned out to be the headliner, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.
Petty, in his 90-minute set, played no-nonsense rock ‘n’ roll, its component parts stripped bare of all frills and pretensions. His music, while not really new wave, shares with the genre the sense of immediacy and potency missing from so much of commercial rock.
Petty and the four other musicians who make up the Heartbreakers performed 15 songs in their set, combining new material with rock classics. There is a country influence in Petty’s music, but while most country rockers have gone mellow and sweet, Petty, as he showed with a biting rendition of the Byrds’ “American Girl,” remains raw and vibrant.
Petty opened the show with some of his new materiak, including “When The Time Comes” and “I Need To Know,” then played some of the favorites from his first LP, including “Breakdown” and “Strangers In The Night,” before closing with such rock classics as “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Route 66,” and “Shout.”
With his long hair, black suit, and red shirt, Petty was as commanding in appearance in his performance as he was in his music. Wielding his distinctive arrow-shaped guitar, he stalked the stage, never letting up the intensity he had established from the beginning.
His performance made Derringer’s old-time boogie rock almost pale in comparison. But Derringer displayed a fine sense of dynamics in his show, building up in energy as the set went on. With another lead guitarist in the band with him, Derringer was able to mount a strong double guitar attack that demonstrated not only his, but also the rest of the four-man band’s instrumental prowess.
Derringer’s hour-long performance got in gear with his version of “Lawyers, Guns And Money” and then built up in the 10-song set to powerful versions of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Hootchie Koo,” “You Really Got Me,” and for the encore, “Roll Over, Beethoven,” where he was joined by a subdued and low-volume Ted Nugent. The audience wanted more but got only one encore.
Opening the show was Carillo, a four man Atlantic group led by vocalist Frank Carillo. The band played a short, 25-minute, six-song set featuring its brand of studied pop/rock.
While not as energetic or exciting as either of the two acts that followed, Carillo worked hard to please with the songs “Love You Like The Fire” and “I Want To Live Again” standing out.