Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers At the Prudential Center, Friday, June 17th, 2017, Reviewed

Written by | June 17, 2017 15:09 | No Comments

There are few more dependable acts in rock and roll than Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. When you see them, you know what you’ll get: A band that’s tight with superb musicianship, most of the hits, a few deep track, and a great time. Friday night’s show at the Rock was no exception.

Petty opened was a somewhat obscure number, “Rockin’ Around With You”, the first track from their first album. It’s an immature song, not up the quality of his others. Probably played for nostalgia. A few other rarities: “Forgotten Man”, a story of our neglected veterans, from Mojo; “Walls” from the She’s the One soundtrack, and “Yer So Bad” , a fun song from Full Moon Fever.

No covers tonight, which was a little disappointing. However, the hits that were played were done with passion, gusto, and a tremendous sense of fun. Mike Campbell is a virtuoso on the guitar, Ben Tench and Steve Ferrone are masters. Ferrone really showed his chops when the last verse of “Free Fallin’” changes to march tempo. A surprise was the addition of two female background singers, the Bell sisters. They added a richness to the sound, but unlike other bands who expanded their lineups it wasn’t that the principle singers are too lazy or too old to hit the notes. I saw an old interview with Petty where he turned down Stevie Nicks’s offer to the join the band by telling her basically “no girls allowed”. I guess he changed his mind.

The opening act was Joe Walsh. Unfortunately we missed the first 20 minutes of his set. (My fault- shouldn’t have ordered the whole baked snapper for dinner- took too long to prepare). When Joe played his familiar hits he was lots of fun; however a long instrumental jam was pretty pointless. Joe does make an all-world guitar face.

40 years of touring has not dimmed Tom Petty’s joy and enthusiasm for his music, and I felt lucky, babe, to be able to witness it. He never mails it in.

Grade: A (as in always)

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