Tom Petty’s First Tulsa Appearance a Winner
By Ernie Osborn
Tulsa Today — Friday, September 24, 2010
A night of legends, with amazingly long careers played to a sold out crowd at BOK Center Thursday. ZZ Top, “that little ole band from Texas,” opened the show with “Under Pressure” and didn’t look back.
Say what you will about the Tres Hombres, they bring their A-game every time and will leave you happy and satisfied. Billy Gibbons, “We have been coming here for four decades. Same three guys.” In that time they have been to the top of the mountain, trekked back down and have climbed it again. A sure crowd pleaser, be it opening or headlining with no signs of slowing down.
With a double handful of hits they set the stage perfectly for what would be an epic night and a fitting 2nd Anniversary for the BOK Center. Songs included “Just Got Paid,” “Tush,” LaGrange,” and MTV hits “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” Legs,” and “Sharp Dressed Man.” As well as paying tribute to Jimi Hendrix, with whom they played in the very early days of the band. “This guy came in and scooped us up and taught us half…three-quarters, well he taught us everything we know.” stated Gibbons before doing a fantastic cover of “Hey Joe.”
After a 40 minute intermission, the lights go out and it is time for the main event. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers slowly make their way onstage and launch into “Listen to Her Heart,” and the night of unmistakeably good time music begins, yet again.
Petty has seemed to have gotten better through the years, although at times he seems to disappear from the scene only to come back better and stronger. With 40 years in the industry he continues to churn out, at ease it seems, hit after hit. Petty greeted the capacity crowd with, “How is are you people doing? This is the first time we have played in Tulsa.” With that statement there was a thunderous cheer and ovation that could have easily lasted a minute or two. Later adding, “I love it here!”
Petty and his band were obviously humbled by the outpouring of support and audience involvement in their set. Thanking the crowd over and over. And what a set he shared. From old favorites like, “Won’t Back Down,” “Freefallin’,” and “Breakdown” to modern classics “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “Learning to Fly,” and “Don’t Come Around Here No More” it is easy to see why they have lasted as long as they have. Stellar musicianship, perfected lyrically styling, and stage presence that really did surprise, the night was electric.
TP shared new songs from the Mojo album, “Jefferson Jericho Blues,” “Good Enough,” “Running Man’s Bible” and “I Should Have Known it.” All of which hit the mark, and blended well with his earlier material.
Mike Campbell, as you would expect shined on lead guitar. Having been with Petty the entire time during his career pretty much know what they are going to do in their sleep. It is truly an amazing sight to see these two interact and play off each other.
Much of the night was given to playing his signature hits and and being very gracious to the audience. Show closers were “Running Down a Dream” and “American Girl,” after which it seemed as though the band didn’t want to leave the stage, soaking in the cheers and clapping. Finally, Petty stepped to the mic and stated, “You guys are truly amazing, just the best audience we have played for. We will be back!”