The Petty Archives

Concert Review: Petty performance a musical history
By Winda Benedetti
The Spokesman-Review - Wednesday, September 8, 1999

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers | Sunday, September 5, The Gorge Amphitheater
Midway through his show at The Gorge Sunday, Tom Petty told the audience, "The greatest thing in my life is to be here on stage with my old friends The Heartbreakers."

It was the kind of comment that was obviously genuine and utterly unnecessary. Watching Petty and his band on stage, their love for the craft of rock 'n' roll was plenty clear -- with or without words.

Sunday was night two of Petty's two-show stand at the Gorge, and he broke out a victorious string of his hits. These were Americana tales of heartbreak and triumph, told with the gleeful intensity of a band that remains as vital today as it was in the '70s.

Petty opened the show with the rollicking song "Jammin' Me," (a number co-written by Bob Dylan). He moved on to "Runnin' Down A Dream" and delivered "Free Fallin'."

As has become tradition, Petty pulled a top hat out of a glowing trunk for "Don't Come Around Here No More." It's a time-tried shtick that he executes with zeal. And the audience loved it.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
By Zac Crain
Dallas Observer - September 16, 1999

Never quite understood why Calways frontman Todd Deatherage idolized Tom Petty so much. Why would someone with Deatherage's voice and songwriting ability deify a man who has always sounded as though he's singing out of Dylan's nose while recycling the same Keith Richards-by-way-of-Roger McGuinn riff? Sure, it's fine to marvel at Petty's inexplicable consistency, the way he turned one idea into one long career. And the fact that someone who looks like Petty has become a video star is nothing short of amazing. But really, Todd -- Tom Petty? It's like being a chef and eating nothing but mayonnaise sandwiches every day. Yet Deatherage maintains such a fetish for Petty that some people even call him "Todd Petty" (which, admittedly, is about as imaginative as Petty's last two albums), not to mention the fact that earlier this year he entered a contest to see who could perform the best cover of a song from Petty's latest record, Echo. To hear him talk about the contest -- and its top prize, a chance to perform with Petty -- you'd have thought The Beatles had reunited and asked Deatherage to round out the foursome. Well, I guess it's better than John Mellencamp. Besides, Deatherage is only saying out loud what so many others hide, keeping enough Pavement and Guided by Voices records around to divert attention.

Grown-Up Garage Kids
By John Floyd
Miami New Times - September 16, 1999

Tom Petty, still drawling after all these years
Although he claims it has nothing to do with his bitter divorce a few years back, Tom Petty's Echo is the rock veteran's masterful chronicle of the hurt, betrayal, and confusion that inevitably follow a nasty split. Battle-scarred and weary, this is a different Petty from the guy who smirked his way through a string of tongue-in-cheek videos in the Eighties, goofed around with the star-studded Traveling Wilburys, and gleefully bashed out mainstream rock and roll gems with his sturdy, reliable Heartbreakers. The existential escapism of "Running Down a Dream" and "Kings Highway," and the emotional distance of "Breakdown" and "Free Fallin'," have been replaced with an insistence on surveying the rubble around him, digging through the wreckage in search of solace, and discovering a glimmer of light in the darkness of love's shattered aftermath. In Echo's smoldering opening cut, "Room at the Top," he sounds as though he's found it: a place "where everyone can have a dream and forget those things that went wrong." It's a lie, though, and before the song is over, he's trapped in that room, not living in it -- on his knees, a fragile shell, pleading for understanding and consolation. It's a recurring theme throughout Echo, from the aching "One More Day, One More Night" and "Lonesome Sundown" to the title track, a scathing look back at a dissolved relationship that's about as venomous as Bob Dylan's "Idiot Wind."

  • 1999-09-17_Boca-Raton-News

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Music: Florida native Tom Petty pays a visit to his homeland
By Skip Sheffield
Boca Raton News - Friday, September 17, 1999

The heartbreak is over. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers are making their first swing through Florida in four years, with a stop at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Coral Sky Amphitheater in West Palm Beach.

The elusive Petty, a Florida native who got his start in the Gainesville area, ventured into the public arena June 14 to promote his latest CD "Echo," which entered the Billboard Top 200 Albums list at No. 10 and has yielded the singles "Room at the Top" and "Free Girl Now."

To show how much a part of the establishment Petty now is, he was awarded a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame on April 28. His boxed-set "Greatest Hits" hasn't left the Billboard charts since its release in late 1993.

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Gaineville's Tom Petty: He reconnects with band for 'Echo'
By Gary Graff
Gainesville Sun - Tuesday, September 21, 1999

When: Tonight at 7:30
Where: Ice Palace, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa
Tickets: $30 and $45, at Ticketmaster outlets

Despite his northern Florida drawl and laid back demeanor, there's a discernible ebullience in Tom Petty's voice as he talks about the current state of his music and his band.

"It's an exciting time to be in the Heartbreakers," says Petty, the singer, songwriter and guitarist who started playing in his native Gainesville as a teen-ager. Two of the current Heartbreakers were at Petty's side in the band -- originally called Mudcrutch -- in the early '70s.

"I think that right now it's actually better than I ever counted on it being," says Petty, 48. "It's great to be improving this many years along the line with the band.

"Usually when a band's been around this long, it's just sort of paying lip service to itself.

"But I think our music is actually improving. It's getting easier to do. It's not nearly the chore it's been. Those are nice things to have happen."

Petty delivers dream concert
By Marty Racine
Houston Chronicle - Tuesday, September 21, 1999

Tom Petty was simply running down a dream. His fans at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands Sunday night worked overtime to make it come true.

Petty, a rock 'n' roll survivor thanks to an ageless, immutable sound and a competitor's resolve, emerged triumphant in a scintillating two-hour performance striking for its pacing and aural texture.

But half the credit for a memorable evening - opened auspiciously with celebratory, roof-raising gospel by the Five Blind Boys of Alabama - goes to the audience. This was a feisty, good-time, rough-and-ready rock 'n' roll crowd he likes of which have nearly become extinct at high-dollar concerts.

The crowd sang on the choruses. It tossed Petty trademark hats onto the stage. It stomped and hooted and screamed until hoarse, and it drummed on chairs for an encore. Its collective voice informed and inspired the music to reach beyond itself, and Petty, a pretty sly character who knows how to squeeze affection from a gathering, appeared thoroughly moved.

By symbiosis this was arena-rock at its best.

  • 1999-09-24_Boca-Raton-News

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Music: Tom Petty rocks his audience
By Skip Sheffield
Boca Raton News - Friday, September 24, 1999

No orator he, Tom Petty lets his music do the talking.

Petty, reunited with his band the Heartbreakers, was in South Florida for the frist time in four years in concert Wednesday at Coral Sky Amphitheater.

Somewhere there much be a picture of a graying, flabby, wrinkled Petty, but the actual man looks hardly changed since he released his first album in 1976. Dressed in skin-tight black leather pants and a billowy shirt, Petty's chief stage movements consisted of stalking back and forth, checking his vintage Vox amps, and tossing his straight, blond, shoulder-length locks about.

  • 1999-09-24_Spartanburg-Herald-Journal

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Tom Petty, Heartbreakers too stubborn to back down
By Larry Rodgers
Spartanburg Herald-Journal - Friday, September 24, 1999

Benmont Tench was all of 12 or 13 when he first encountered future rock star Tom Petty in 1960s' Gainesville, Fla.

"He was an older kid. He had a good haircut and was in a band -- very impressive and very intimidating," Tench recalls.

  • 1999-10-07_Canton-Observer

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This Weekend: Saturday
Canton Observer - Thursday, October 7, 1999

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers rock the Palace of Auburn Hills with their "Echo Tour" at 8 p.m. Tickets $49.50 and $39.50, available at The Palace and Pine Knob box offices, and Ticketmaster outlets. Call (248) 377-0100 or (248) 645-6666.