The Petty Archives

Tom Petty rocks Market Square, revives '60s with classics
By Angel Sherry
The Reflector - Tuesday, March 13, 1990 

Although new musical groups are popping up all the time, the older, "classic" groups have managed to maintain their popularity and longevity. It's been a great season for the "classic concerts." It began with the Who and the Rolling Stones then moved on to Paul McCartney and Billy Joel. Next in line was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

When I heard Tom Petty was going to be in Indianapolis in concert, I told myself I had to go. But being the poor college student that I am, I found my lack of funds would not allow me such a privilege.

I've always tried to win concert tickets from radio stations before but wuth no luck. It seemed like a last resort thing that almost wasn't worth the trouble.

On Feb. 22 at about 4:06 p.m. I sat in my room talking to some friends and listening to WZPL. The DJ came over the station and said he had two Tom Petty concert tickets for the ninety-ninth caller. Almost out of habit I picked up the phone and dialed ZPL's number. There's always a busy signal so I just kept hanging up and pushing redial while I continued talking to my friends.

Suddenly a voice came over the phone and asked me what radio station I listened to. Surprised at a response, I said WZPL. BINGO!!! You guessed it. Two tickets to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in concert. I'll never doubt the concert line again.

Market Square Arena was amuck with hippies and flower children of all ages. It looked like a '60s rebirth with peace signs visible everywhere.

We arrived late to the concert and Lenny Kravitz was already on stage. I'm not really familiar with any of his music besides the song "Let Love Rule" which evoked audience participation. His show wasn't bad and I'm sure more of his songs will be hitting the airwaves soon.

After Kravitz, the lights came up for a set change. Normally I'm bored during this time and am very anxious to see the main show, but I was pretty preoccupied watching the variety of people both young and old who'd come to see Petty. You'd be amazed at the number of tie-dyed shirts, vests, bangles, and peace earrings I saw.

When the lights went down, the crowd got loud, the Bics were flicked and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers took the stage.

The set was designed somewhat like a room in a museum. Black curtains hung all around the stage like a frame. A giant stuffed polar bear and a suit of armor adorned the stage as well. Steps approaching the drum set were painted with hieroglyphics. At the bottom of the steps sat a large chest. Background scenes were shown on three screens at the back of the stage. Sometimes they showed just a mellow hue but many times there was a swirl of colors and shapes.

They opened with a song off their new LP "Full Moon Fever," but didn't waste any time breaking into the classics everybody knows word for word. Actually if you stopped and thought about it you'd be amazed at the number of Tom Petty songs you know.

The crowd favorite had always been and remains to be "Breakdown." The audience knows it so well that Petty rarely sings leaving the crowd to show off a bit. Petty also sang some old tunes from the early '70s as well as the new songs.

After nearly two hours of pounding the keys, banging the drums, and strumming the strings, Petty and the Heartbreakers ended their show with "Running Down a Dream" and bid a fond farewell and left the stage. But that ain't all folks. Once again the Bics began to emit their flames of approval and the band emerged for an encore performance of "The Waiting" and "American Girl."

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers put on a fabulous performance. The fact that the original Heartbreakers were touring with him added to the thrill. Like I said, the new groups may be good but nothing can top the classics.