TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS
MOUNTAIN VIEW , CA.
The Heartbreakers are one of the premier backing bands for a more than brilliant artist. Tom Petty has always written the majority of the lyrics and music for this band, but the success of Petty's music has everything to do with his entourage of world class musicians. At the Sacramento Valley Amphitheatre show (see Rocktime Magazine review) in August, Tom acknowledged the amazing patience of his band mates to allow him to express himself. He thanked them for so willingly lending their musical genius to his outpouring of lyrical wit. To his credit, the Heartbreakers probably stick around because of the seemingly endless song pool in his head. I have only met the man very briefly, but, my impression was that he has a heart of gold. This always goes a long way in sustaining a lasting relationship. Other rock bands hailing from this era have broken up, had reunions, and done farewell tours already. Tom Petty just keeps writing songs and the Heartbreakers are faithfully there to back him up. The new album, "The Last DJ," a Warner Brothers release is available in stores now.
It is a complex album that has a central theme to most of its songs. That theme, of course, is not a new one for recording artists to write about. Lynyrd Skynyrd touched on the subject a little with the song "Working for M.C.A." Neil Young took the reins to shove a horrible album down the throat of his record company with 1987's "Life." This Neil Young album had two great songs on it and the rest live on in mediocrity forever. The first being, "Inca Queen" which speaks for itself. The second being the last song on the album, "Prisoners of Rock and Roll," a message of apology to the fans and at the same a time a real "Fu*# you" in the face of the record company. Neil's lyrics are so blatant, "We never listen to the record company man, he'll try and screw us and ruin our band, that's why we don't want to be good." Tom's new album runs along this concept, except that, I don't think that Warner Brothers will be crying because the whole album is quite good. The subject matter is definitely aimed in their direction though, with songs like "Joe," which enters the mind of a record company executive. Other songs like, "Money Becomes King" and "The Last DJ" attempt to divulge the greed, deceit, and the heartless realities of the recording industry. Looking at a recording artist as a giant bucket of money is commonplace in the executive mind. That's not the real crime though, it's things like lifestyle censorship and the editing of an artist's musical expressions to politically correct standards. "The Last DJ" is a stab at this cynical reality, although, the album in itself is an anomaly. Established artists are allowed certain arrogance and freedoms from reproach. Rightly so, as you can't argue with a man who has written yet another barrage of subtle hits. Two old adages come to mind, "Life is a two-way street" and "Don't Bite the hand that feeds you."
Enough rambling, time to talk about the show. Tom has broken the spell and is now playing some of the band's new music to open the set. For the better part of the last ten years, Tom has been opening the majority of his concerts with "Running Down A Dream." The set list is bound to change a little throughout the tour, but, was as follows for the first night of the second leg of The Last DJ tour.
The set was awesome and the band played two thirds of the new album. I'm sure by the end of the tour they will rotate all the new songs in and out of the set list. Two weeks ago, Tom and the Heartbreakers made music history with a performance in Los Angeles that was satellite broadcast to thirty eight movie theaters around the nation. That was the first show Tom opened with "The Last DJ," and hopefully he will stick with that for awhile, or even rotate some other openers in there. I really like three or four of the new songs, and he played all of those at Shoreline the other night. "The last DJ," is a super groovy dance number that swings to a catchy beat. You know the kind of song that gets stuck in your head no matter what, and you either love it, or you hate it. Well, I love this one, and it's been stuck in my head for two days. The show really took off during "When A Kid Goes Bad," this one is destined to be a classic. A song based around a heavy rhythm with great fills and leads, all the trademarks of a Tom Petty tune.1. The Last DJ (new)
2. Love is a Long Road
3. Have Love Will Travel (new)
4. Dreamville (new)
5. Joe (new)
6. When a Kid Goes Bad (new)
7. Shadow of a Doubt
8. I won't Back Down
9. You Don't Know How It Feels
10. Feel A Whole Lot Better
11. Like A Diamond (new)
12. A Woman In Love
13. The Waiting
14. King's Highway
15. Yer So Bad
16. Lost Children (new)
17. Running Down a Dream
18. Can't Stop the Sun (new)
19. I Need To Know
20. Psychotic Reaction
21. The Last DJ (reprise)
22. Mary Jane's Last Dance
Then Tom played one of his more discreet songs from the catalog "Shadow of a Doubt/Complex Kid." Followed by sure fire crowd pleasers "I Won't Back Down" and "You Don't Know How It Feels." Scott Thurston played the harmonica on the latter, Tom does not blow harp on this one anymore. Next, they busted out a lost classic "Feel A Whole Lot Better" and back into the new material with a fantastic song titled "Like a Diamond." Mike Campbell takes over on this one with electric leads that shone like a diamond, I even think his guitar was turned up louder than Tom's on this one. Great new tune, the kind that grows on you every time you hear it. The crowd was restless for the hits again and the band delivered with songs that span the generations, "A Woman In Love" and "The Waiting." Over two decades old and they sound even so much better today "live" than the day these tunes were released on vinyl. Tom, Mike and Scott all played electric guitars for these two numbers and the crowd was all up and dancing.
It's time for a little more rambling, I really got into Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers after a tape of "Into the Great Wide Open" ended up mysteriously in my car. I would pop it in when I was tired of everything else, and it mysteriously ended up being my favorite tape. It's funny, the more I listened to it, the more I liked every song on the album. The songs that I thought were less rocking than others on the album ended up being the ones I found more enjoyable after a hundred listens or so, subtle hits like "King' Highway." When Tom was handed an acoustic guitar and Mike Campbell grabbed his electric mandolin, Tom struck the first chords of the "King's Highway" and the crowd sat down. I realized what song it was and was swayed back to my feet to enjoy one of Tom's best songs. Next was a definite love song, "Yer So Bad" with the same guitar mandolin duo between Tom and Mike. The new album gets more play with "Lost Children," this song has the three electric guitar wailing thing going on and some great vocals. Just to ensure that the people who came to see "Running Down A Dream" were not disappointed we got that thrown in there too.
The set ended with a song that I'm sure will be forever underrated and never fully appreciated by most. True Petty fans can surely see that "Can't Stop the Sun" has all the trademarks of a Beattles' song. The expertise of Steve Ferrone's drum work on this one is reminiscent of the album "Abbey Road." Background vocals and guitar by five men working. It was just awesome to watch as the band pulled this tune together on stage. I was just in awe of the musical precision. Tight as a drum and right on time, this song will prove to be the sleeper on this new album. The encore was right back to the beginning with one of Tom's biggest hits "I Need To Know." Then we got a treat not found in the Tom Petty song list "Psychotic Reaction," I think this is a cover song because it's not on the new release, unless it is a hidden track. Talk about a bonus track, Tom did a one verse reprise of "The Last DJ." The show ended with a twenty one plus minute song that always keeps 'em coming back for more, "Mary Jane's Last Dance." I hope this review brings back your memories of the show if you were there. If you weren't there, I hope this recap has brought this concert experience to you. Thanks for reading and we'll see ya at the shows.
COUNTING CROWS DEF LEPPARD CHER THE OTHER ONES AEROSMITH TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS PAUL McCARTNEY SANTANA SHERYL CROW TESLA JAY-Z AND 311 OZZFEST 2000 OZZFEST 2001 OZZFEST 2002 DAVID BOWIE AND MOBY AT AREA2 THE WHO JACKSON
PAPA ROACH, P.O.D.,CYPRESS HILL, & ROB ZOMBIE MORNING SPRING RAIN FESTIVAL JUNE 2002 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND MIDNIGHT OIL MT. AIRE 2002 BIG HEAD TODD CROSBY, STILLS, NASH AND YOUNG BUSH AND DEFAULT INCUBUS BLUES TRAVELER LINKIN PARK IN
BRYAN ADAMS AT THE FILLMORE LINKIN PARK & P.O.D. CROSBY, STILLS, AND NASH STRING CHEESE INCIDENT
FUEL & SALIVA AEROSMITH 2002 STEVIE NICKS THE
AEROSMITH 2001 BLINK 182 THE STRINGCHEESE INCIDENT OZZFEST 2001 BAD COMPANY LINKIN PARK OZZFEST 2000 MARILYN
MEGADETH TED NUGENT
NEW YEAR'S EVE 2000-2001
THIRD EYE BLINDSUMMER
YES THE FURTHUR FESTIVAL 2000 THE B.B. KING
THE STRING CHEESE INCIDENT JOE WALSH
CROSBY, STILLS, NASH, AND YOUNGREUNION TOUR 2000 NYE
WITH THE STRING CHEESE INCIDENT
MILLENIUM TOUR 2000
ZZ TOP & LYNYRD SKYNYRD TOM PETTY
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