Weather adds drama to stellar Petty concert
By Daniel Durchholz
St. Louis Post-Dispatch — Monday, July 19, 2010
As if Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ concert at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater on Sunday wasn’t spectacle enough, fans in the upper pavilion and lawn seating areas of the venue were treated to an epic light show of natural origin.
Throughout the evening, giant thunderheads to the south produced a constant barrage of lightning in sheets and streaks, though no rain ever fell on the venue to mar the evening.
One could infer, perhaps, that God (or Zeus, or your deity of choice) is a Tom Petty fan, too, and simply wanted to sit in.
Petty and the Heartbreakers brought plenty of heavy weather themselves, though, in the form of hits from the past and new songs from their recently released album, “Mojo.”
Those who have responded tepidly to the new album, which is blues-oriented and favors the band’s ensemble playing over potential hit singles, might reconsider its worth after hearing the songs played live. Petty bunched five of the new tracks together into a mini-set that delivered maximum impact.
Guitarist Mike Campbell, introduced by Petty as “the co-captain” of the Heartbreakers, especially shone on the roadhouse-ready “Jefferson Jericho Blues,” as well as “Good Enough,” which Petty called a “slow blues for a steamy night,” and a stellar “I Should Have Known It.”
More casual fans that simply came for the hits got a good supply of them, drawn from all periods of the band’s long history, plus Petty’s solo albums. Opening with the hard-charging “Listen to Her Heart,” the band downshifted for the laconic “You Don’t Know How It Feels” and then back up into a defiant “I Won’t Back Down.”
After a gorgeous reading of “Free Fallin,” the vintage Fleetwood Mac tune “Oh Well” provided a nice detour for the set, with Campbell turning in a torrid solo. Another nice surprise was a relative obscurity from the Heartbreakers’ “Live Anthology” set, “Drivin’ Down to Georgia.”
Some unintended drama occurred late in the show. After the trippy “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” Campbell was suddenly taken ill and had to be carried off the stage. Petty said an abrupt goodnight and then came back quickly to explain what happened. If Campbell was up to it, he said, they’d return and play more.
After five or six minutes, Campbell recovered, and the band roared through “Refugee,” “Runnin’ Down a Dream” and “American Girl” before calling it a night. Appropriately, the dance party going on in the heavens ended about the same time and the lightning subsided as Verizon’s house lights went up.
Tom Petty set list
“Listen to Her Heart”
“You Don’t Know How It Feels”
“I Won’t Back Down”
“Mary Jane’s Last Dance”
“Drivin’ Down to Georgia”
“Jefferson Jericho Blues”
“Running Man’s Bible”
“Takin’ My Time”
“I Should Have Known It”
“Learning to Fly”
“Don’t Come Around Here No More”
“Runnin’ Down a Dream”