Sunday, February 03, 2008

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

The first real concert I ever went to was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. September of '81, at Cal Expo (home of California's State Fair). It was festival seating, so my friend Fredzo and I stayed out in the 100+ degree heat all day so we could be near the front when the gates opened. Bottled water hadn't been invented yet, and the crowd got so big that we eventually couldn't even individually go get a drink because we wouldn't be able to get back through the crowd to whichever of us was holding our spot in line.

So we gutted it out. All day. In the California sun.

It was all worth it once the concert started. They'd thrown a tarp over the race track and erected a stage in the middle, and we were about 25' from center stage. As he did today, Tom opened up then with American Girl. We yelled. We cheered. Stevie Nicks came out to do 2 duets with Petty--Stop Draggin' My Heart Around and Insider. I still have the pictures I took with my 110 camera.

I'd lost my voice by the end of that concert. Then the sore throats started, and then the doctor said my tonsils had to come out. To this day I wonder if there's any link.

So I watched the game today to ensure I wouldn't miss a second of Petty's halftime show, and I'm glad I saw it. Wow! Tom's showing some years, but he still plays like a wild man--still has his signature "hunch" when he plays, too!

Good to see Mike Campbell at his side--but when did Mike start with the 12-string? I remember Tom playing that, not Mike.

I think that was Ron Blair on bass today, too. Couldn't tell if Benmont Tench was the keyboardist or not. The drummer was most definitely not Stan Lynch!

Today's show was only a 4-song set. As I said, he started with American Girl, which many may remember from the opening scenes of Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

The second song was I Won't Back Down. Unfortunately, it sounded a little weak today, especially in bass and lead guitar. Could have been more powerful.

The third song was Free Fallin', which sounded even better than the studio version. It's a soulful song, and it will probably always sound better live. They did a great job. I love it when the lights go down for a song and everyone breaks out their cell phones instead of their lighters.

The final song was Runnin' Down A Dream, which sounded fine.

I knew the songs, I knew the words, I had the surround sound blasting. Awesome half-time show!

Can we get Fleetwood Mac for next year?

Update: as commenter Dan pointed out, I merged my comments for two songs into one, completely leaving out a song. That's now corrected.


Ellen K said...

I would personally like to see either John Fogarty or Chicago. Unfortunately knowing Jerry Jones poor taste in music, the Dallas Super Bowl will have some seriously lame band that is currently popular but who nobody will remember five years later.

Darren said...

I saw Chicago perform at West Point just before our graduation. For the first 45 minutes they played nothing but their most famous songs, ones for which *everyone* knows the words.

Sitting cross-legged on the floor
Twenty-five or -six to four-or-or

Anonymous said...

That was Benmont Tesch,I believe. You missed a song -- "I Won't Back Down" was #2. . .

Apparently, the NFL asked Tom to do a medley, to get more songs in -- he refused. Let's hear it for artist integrity!


Darren said...

You're 1-1,Dan. You're right, I missed that song. Great song, too.

But it *was* Tench. Just checked my album covers :-)

Anonymous said...

Ellen K

I get to see John Fogarty next month at the Houston Rodeo…along with Toby Keith!

Darren, Chicago was the first concert I went to. Fall of 1984 as I recall.

I didn’t see the half time show…I was outside smoking cigars and drinking scotch with friends. But that was a game. Superbowl Rings for both of Archie’s sons, I’ll drink to that!


Anonymous said...

I couldn't tell if Benmont Tench was the keyboardist, either. They didn't even show but snippets (if that) of him. It wasn't until they all came out infront for the final bow, that I realized he'd been up onstage all this time!


Dr Pezz said...

Gotta say, I'm loving the return to real rock and roll during the Super Bowl. One Janet Jackson breast is all it took to get back to real music?

So far, my favorite has been McCartney's "Hey Jude." Just thinking about how many millions of people in the world were singing along makes me fell incredible again.

I'm with Ellen; I want to see Fogarty perform next year, too.

KauaiMark said...

I'm also glad to see actual "good" music return to the bowl games.

(...Hard to believe Tom Petty is the same voice to "Lucky" in "King of the Hill")

Ellen K said...

Fogarty is still good live. We saw him live at Nokia in Grand Prairie last year. Awesome straight ahead rock and roll. EArth Wind and Fire are great too. The tour they did with Chicago was terrific. Especially the parts where band members crossed over to other songs. Amazing show.

Babbie said...

My sophomores commented this morning on how much more they liked this year's half-time than last year's. It's not a generational thing.

Anonymous said...

Ellen K

You ever see the Eagles live? I saw them back in 94 in New Orleans and they were awesome. One thing that was great is how good they sounded doing their solo work...e.g. Glen Fry's "You Belong to the City" and Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer"


Anonymous said...

I was so happy to see Tom Petty as the Superbowl act. What a perfect band for a perfect game, and I don't usually like football (I actually had to inquire as to what the function of the quarterback was...).

Good on him too, it reminded me that I need to buy a couple of his albums, and I did so! Capitalism!

Ellen K said...

There was a time, back before we had kids, when my husband and I went to concerts every week. Literally.
Among the bands and performers-
The Eagles, The first Willie Nelson Picnic(I can't list the whole playlist here...) John Denver (twice-once the with symphony under the stars,once in the round), Jackson Browne, Simon AND Garfunkel, Simon sans Garfunkel, Chicago9countless times), Electric Light Orchestra (twice), Doobie Brothers (on my 20th birthday), Queen (twice), Quicksilver Messenger Service, SpyroGyra (many times), Maynard Ferguson (many times),EarthWind and Fire, Grand Funk, Areosmith, ZZ Top, Billy Joel(many times)Beach Boys (many times), Buddy Rich, I can't remember the rest-my husband has a ticket stub collection of the places we've been. It's appalling to think we paid a big ten bucks in 1976 for a concert ticket.