The Petty Archives

Editor's Note: The title of the article doesn't really fit. It's not really a negative review.

Download the PDF!

Petty disappoints in heartbreaking show
By David J. Criblez
The Villanovan - September 27, 1991

"If you're gonna do this, you should have fun doing it. I wanna have all the fun I can in life," declared Tom Petty to a warm and welcoming crowd as he and his Heartbreakers pulled their "Touring the Great Wide Open" show into the Spectrum Sept. 16.

Petty's performance surpassed his previous tours. The stage fright that once plagued him has dissipated. Now he remains on a relaxed plateau, allowing him to connect with the audience.

With a set that was comprised of an odd replica of the Keebler Elf tree, Petty became rather animated and playful, something that he has failed to do in the past. His performance of "Don't Come Around Here No More," complete with Petty chasing Republican expresidents around the stage with a peace sign, was amusing. However, guitarist Mike Campbell's axe was rigged far too loud, drowning out Petty.

  • 1991-09-27_The-Villanovan-1
  • 1991-09-27_The-Villanovan-2
  • 1991-09-27_The-Villanovan-3

New material from Petty's latest effort, Into the Great Wide Open, grew like weeds throughout the set. Tunes such as opening track, "King's Highway," "Out in the Cold" and the title track were received with surprising excitement.

Full Moon Fever as well as old Heartbreaker classics were plentiful. "Free Fallin'" had the crowd in a sing-along, providing the background vocals, while "American Girl" had the fans stomping on their seats.

The main problem was Petty's out-of-tune song placement. One of his usual show stoppers and crowd arouser, "Breakdown" was played acoustically. It was a let down watching the traditional 10 minute gem cut to a minute and a half.

The encore of "The Waiting," which should have been set into the acoustic set, "Built to Last" and "Makin' Some Noise" disappointed the fans. Some of Petty's best work, "Jammin' Me," "Don't Do Me Like That" and "Rebels" were sorely missed. How many people perform brand new material as an encore? This proves Petty is an artist with a lot of heart and a lot of nerve.