Petty gives Gorge crowd all it could want
By Travis Hay
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Sunday, September 4, 2005
Rock 'n' roll legends Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played a set that took the capacity crowd on a musical journey that spanned three decades of hits during their first night of a sold-out two-night stint at The Gorge Friday.
Wearing a black shirt, green military jacket and tattered blue jeans, Petty started his two-hour set with "Listen to Her Heart." The rest of the set list read like a greatest-hits compilation with a few newer songs plugged in for good measure. The bluesy "Honey Bee," and a newer song "Melinda," which featured a bridge that showcased pianist Ben Tench's versatility, were the newer songs that stood out the most. Of course, Petty staples such as "Free Fallin'," "Refugee" and his first single, 1976's "Breakdown," were performed.
Throughout the night, it was evident Petty takes pleasure in what he does, and he is basking in the afterglow of the success his Hall of Fame career has brought him.
"I always dedicate this song to the Traveling Wilburys, for wherever they may be traveling tonight," Petty said before launching into "Handle With Care." Petty has resisted playing Wilburys tunes in the past, but "Handle" has become a staple of his shows ever since Olivia Harrison asked him to play the song at The Concert for George.
The band also played a few covers, The Animals' "I'm Crying" and the extended jaunt of a jam that was Them and Van Morrison's "Gloria." It was an appropriate way for Petty to pay his respects to his influences.
Georgia-based group The Black Crowes opened the night with a set of songs that sounded better live than a meal of fried okra and boiled peanuts tastes. The band's brand of deep-fried rock gives Lynyrd Skynyrd a run for its money as the kings of Southern rock.
Accompanied by two backup singers, singer Chris Robinson shimmied and swayed through many of the group's hits, including "She Talks to Angels" and "Remedy" as his movie-star wife, Kate Hudson, watched from the side of the stage.
Hudson is relatively a big name in Hollywood, but she wasn't the biggest name at The Gorge; it was Petty and his Heartbreakers who deserved the spotlight.