The Free Lance-Star — July 25, 2002

Concert Review: Tom Petty performs for fans, not ego
By Pennie Carey
The Free Lance-Star — Thursday, July 25, 2002

BRISTOW — Tom Petty doesn’t need laser effects and dancing girls. His music is more than enough.

Petty and his backup band, The Heartbreakers, packed two hours last week at Nissan Pavilion with a quarter-century worth of memorable songs.

The show opened with “Running Down a Dream,” which had fans leaping to their feet and dancing in the aisles with the first chords.

Other hits included “I Won’t Back Down,” “Even the Losers,” “I Need to Know” and “Refugee.”

Through an 18-song set and three encores, Petty enthusiastically played songs we all know. He’s played them at every single concert for years because that’s what the fans want — it’s very obvious that Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers are about performing for their fans and not for themselves.

The musicians did several extended versions of old favorites with long guitar, piano and harmonica solos, and the crowd loved it all. But the show-stopper, both literally and figuratively, was the final encore, “American Girl.”

Petty simultaneously proved himself worthy of his Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame status and showed it hasn’t gone to his head. As far as he’s concerned, it’s really all about the music and the fans.

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