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  • 1995-10-02_The-Robesonian

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Hitting his second decade -- running
By James Bass
The Robesonian - October 2, 1995

Tom Petty proves that rock 'n' roll gets better with age.
RALEIGH -- If Tom Petty has proved anything, it is that good rock and roll never dies.

Now into his second decade and running, Petty has skilfully managed to keep the necessary elements of survival in an industry that thrives on musical evolution.

"You might remember this one. You can sing the words if you do," said the artist before grinding into a rendition of his classic hit "The Waiting."

Petty began his career in the 1970's with such hits as "Don't Do Me Like That," "Refugee," and "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" and shaped his career for the 1980's with the top ten success of songs like "Don't Come Around Here No More," "You Got Lucky" and "Jammin' Me."

The 1990's have found the same Tom Petty, but revised and built to run close with today's younger rock artists. Such hits as "Free Fallin'," "Learning To Fly" and the recent "You Don't Know How It Feels" are evidence.

His concerts provide all the tools to prove that Petty is not only a tried and true rocker, but a showman who captivates and keeps his audiences on their feet.

Performing a hot two-hour set at Hardee's Walnut Creek, Wednesday, the artist gave North Carolina more of what it longed for after his sold-out April 12 show.

From "The Waiting" to "Last Dance With Mary Jane" to "It's Good To Be King" to a rocking remake of The Doors classic "Gloria," Petty pretty much ran the gamut.

However, like many of his long and running middle-age colleagues, he failed to offer a complete musical set. He did not perform "You Got Lucky," "Learning to Fly" or "Into The Great Wide Open." But like many other '70s era performers who have stayed in the limelight for so long -- too many songs, not enough time.

In April, Petty kicked off the Hardee's Walnut Creek 1995 Season in rain and adverse weather. Despite the conditions, fans were overjoyed with his performance, prompting a back-by-popular-demand show.

That confidence was matched by a capacity attendance of Petty fans, wooing for more.

The surprise of the evening came in the form of special guest Peter Droge and the Perpetual Sinners, who opened for Petty.

Relatively new on the music scene, Droge offered a bluesy rock set and an entourage that looked like a cross between Guns 'N' Roses, The Counting Crows, and Four Non Blondes.

Their music was an interesting compliment to Tom Petty and their growing success (including a song from the recent "Dumb and Dumber" movie soundtrack) made for a more-than-satisfactory performance.