Tom Petty wins crowd
By Debra Utterback
Beaver County Times — Monday, September 16, 1991
BURGETTSTOWN — Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers easily could rely on their past 15 years of classic rock ‘n’ roll hits to carry a concert.
But that would be necessary only if new material didn’t equal the songs from the good ol’ days.
Petty showed, for the most part, when he performed Sunday night at the Star Lake Amphitheatre in Burgettstown, that his latest tunes are good matches to the popular songs that first put him on the mainstream charts in the 1970s.
The veteran singer heavily featured releases from his current album, “Into the Great Wide Open,” and from 1989’s “Full Moon Fever” as he kept 14,590 fans on their toes for most of the evening.
He showed off his fine-tuned ability to continually crank out hits with new songs, “Learning to Fly,” “Making Some Noise” and “Out in the Cold.”
Heartbreakers’ guitarist Mike Campbell also proved he’s been able to maintain classic guitar licks in “Too Good to Be True.”
Much of the evening begged for audience participation.
Petty’s fans formed an instant chorus for “Full Moon Fever” songs, including “Free Fallin,” “I Won’t Back Down” and “Running Down a Dream.”
The audience stuck with blond-haired Petty each step along the way, from hard-driving songs like “Love is a Long Road” to a series of acoustic songs Petty perfected with his guitar.
Fans traveled back with him to the 1978 hit, “Listen to Her Heart,” and onto a too-quick medley of “Breakdown” and “American Girl.”
Fans who arrived a bit late missed a superb opening set: hip-swaying, blues-based guitarist Chris Whitley. Whitley’s strong vocals shone during the inspiring “Big Sky Country,” a single from his new Columbia release, “Living With the Law.”