Tom Petty: A refugee comes to New York
By Patti Dietz
The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, July 15, 1980
It's been a slow summer for concerts so far in New York City. Many top acts are choosing to either bypass Manhattan altogether or play in the city's smaller-capacity venues in hopes of just breaking even in the waning of the recording industry's financial crises. If the big shows have been sadly lacking this season, the quality of performances has likewise taken a downward turn: Billy Joel, who moved into the city's mammoth Madison Square Garden for five sold-out shows, was roundly panned by all of the are's major rock writers, prompting this smart-ass hometown-boy-makes-good to tear up a stack of New York Times onstage one night after a particularly apt critical drubbing in that newspaper.
Although Joel's shows were generally well-recieved by the throng who were lucky enough to get their hands on tickets, there was surprisingly enough, a large amount of disappointment voiced. All of which goes to show that this summer the majority of Manhattanites are too busy shaking their stuff at rock dancehalls like the Mudd Club and Irving Plaza to care very much about the quality of performances that cost upwards of $10.50 to see.
I thus approached Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers' show -- one of three during the July 4th weekend -- at the mid-sized Palladium on New York's lower East Side, a decadent, seedy theatre-turned-concert-showplace befitting a Patti Smith (yes, it's her occasional hang out, too). Not highly regarding this particular New York crowd's ability to distinguish between a worthwhile performance and a sub-standard one any more than their fellow rock addicts anywhere else, I figured Petty's triumphant return to the East Coast as a newfangled rock hero would go over big even if he played selections from Mickey Mouse Disco.
Tom Petty understands audience
By Gary Graff
Beaver Country Times - July 16, 1980
Tom Petty does something with his songs that too few musicians are doing nowadays: He writes about fans frustrations, which also happen to be his frustrations. Topics range from romance (mainly) to generally being fed-up with life, but in each case Petty tried to become a mirror for the feelings and frustrations he senses in his teen-age audience.
The audience at his Stanley Theare concert last Thursday was certainly teen-age -- and abundantly female -- and if the fans wanted to indeed use Petty as a reflecting glass for their problems, he was happy to comply.
Listening to his records, it's easy to doubt his sincerity and his "understanding" nature. Writing about teen-age frustrations (particularly when you're no longer a teenager) is one thing, but understanding what you're writing about is another. In concert, even if he doesn't really understand what he's writing and singing about, Petty sure makes it look like he does.
Energetic Concert Kept Audience Moving
By Ronda Templeton
St. Petersburg Independent - Wednesday, July 18, 1980
Florida-bred Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers came home to St. Petersberg last night to entertain a near-capacity crowd at the Bayfront Center.
Opening act Tommy Tutone never quite succeeded in his attempts to warm up the crowd for Petty's performance. Most of his songs were unknown to the majority of the crowd and the audience seemed impatient for Petty to take the stage.
Petty and the Heartbreakers were brought to St. Petersburg as part of radio startion 98 Rock's third birthday celebration. Petty, 28, seemed genuinely glad to be performing in his home state of Florida, and his fans seemed impressed by the band's performance.
Petty's music has become more popular this year with the release of the band's most recent album, Damn the Torpedos. Despite poor reviews at earlier stops on the band's current tour, the Bayfront Center performance was energetic, keeping members of the audience on their feet for the better part of the evening.
Music Opinion: Tom Petty ends rock 'n' roll drought with Bayfront concert
By Robert Ely
St. Petersburg Times - July 16, 1980
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in concert at the Bayfront Center arena, Tuesday July 15. ★★★
Tom Petty played the Bayfront Center Arena Tuesday night like a champion tennis player coming from behind. The first third of his nearly two-hour set lacked that winning style that puts an audience away, but the Petty midgame and end-game built strongly to a smashing conclusion.
When he first appeared onstage beneath an elaborate bank of lights, and surrounded by walls of speakers that delivered crisp, high-decibel sound, Petty announced he'd been partying beforehand. It was, after all, a concert billed as the third annual 98 Rock Birthday Bash. But Petty's delivery and the band's energy were as wispy as the blond hair that frames his angular face.
When he arrived, after four or five songs at Even the Losers, a testament to endurance in the face of outrageous fortune, his performance began to hint at something more powerful. Before long, the Heartbreaker's keyboard man, Benmont Tench, was pounding the big piano chords and organ fills to Petty's protest on bad love, Don't Do Me Like That. He had come alive.
Superb songs, including the Refugee, with is as gutteral as American Girl is lyrical, brought Petty and the Heartbreakers' form to a high cruising speed. And then he introduced a new song, a slow and poignant expression of good wishes to an old love called The Best Of Everything. It is one of his best.
The Miami News - July 18, 1980
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers ‘damn the torpedoes’ to appear at 8 tonight at the Hollywood Sportatorium. That’s T.P., second from right, with (from left) Stan Lynch, Mike Campbell, Ron Blair and Bermont Tench. See CONCERTS
Tom Petty: Sunshine Rocker
By Randy Miranda
Daytona Beach Morning Journal - July 26, 1980
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with flowing, stormy organs, punchy guitar surges and strong, hard driving rhythm, is a band of cohesive Florida rockers who don't play the typical Southern rock sound.
Petty, 28, son of an insurance salesman, and his skilled cohorts -- Guitarist Michael Campbell, Drummer Stan Lynch, Bassic Ron Blair and Keyboardist Benmont Tench -- are from the Gainesville area.
From the simple beginnings of playing high school dances and area lounges in a band named "Mudcrutch," Petty and the band burst upon the national scene in 1976 with the release of their self titled debut album and the Top 40 smash "Breakdown." The band's creative juices and enthusiasm were somewhat diminished for a time by minor personality clashes and record company contract hassles. The release of the second album, "You're Gonna Get It," was met with less than critical and commercial success. But the band has returned to the road to rock superstardom with a vengeance. The third album, "Damn the Torpedoes," has sold more than two million copies and a recent 27 city tour saw the band play to sellout crowds everywhere.
Crowd Thrilled By A Couple Of Toms
By Mark Plymale
The Commonwealth-Times - July 29, 1980
From beginning to end, the show was delightful. The cool air in the Mosque was a remedy for the oppresive heat outside, and the show began precisely at eight. The four-piece opening band, Tommy Tutone from San Francisco, played straight rock and roll with little thrills. The songs were short, briskly performed, and clever, with lead singer Tommy Heath's powerfully expressive vocals the strongest asset. Standout numbers in the 45-minute set were "Angel Say No" and "Cheap Date." The crowd received them well enough to merit an encore, but they didn't get one.
After a brief intermission, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (guitarist Mike Campbell, drummer Stan Lynch, bassist Ron Blair and keyboards player Benmont Tench) -- from Florida -- took the stage to a boisterous welcome. For over two hours, Petty and band put on a thoroughly professional show. Tom's stage presence was a mixture of polished veteran and ingenuous newcomer, with his every gesture and vocal inflection adding to the music.
The Oswego Shopper - Wednesday, September 10, 1980
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are another popular group who are recording a new album. Their last effort, "Damn the Torpedoes" was a best seller, and still sells. The name of their forthcoming album is "Benmont's Revenge." It will contain more than 24 songs.
Marilyn Beck's Hollywood: A New Direction
By Marilyn Beck
The Victoria Advocate - Friday, September 12, 1980
Tom Petty -- the handsome, blond, Southern lead of The Heartbreakers musical group -- is being paged by Universal to play a callow youth in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." And as far as Tom is concerned, it's Damn the Torpedoes (as in the title of the hit LP that catapulted him to fame), full steam ahead.