Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers rock on for 30 years
By Len Righi
The Morning Call - August 17, 2006
As Mark Twain once said about reports of his death, predictions of Tom Petty's impending retirement are greatly exaggerated.
The 55-year-old Petty recently told the Associated Press that his current tour with The Heartbreakers, which stops Friday at the Tweeter Center in Camden, N.J., "might be the last really extended one."
But, he added, "I didn't mean to imply that we were going to stop playing. Whether or not we'll continue to do the really long ones that take up four or five months, I don't know."
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the band, Petty and The Heartbreakers reportedly are keeping the solos and extended jams to a minimum during their two-hour set, concentrating on the archetypal rock 'n' roll songs that made them famous. "Listen to Her Heart" and "American Girl" bookended a couple of recent concerts, with "Free Falling," "I Won't Back Down" and "Don't Come Around Here No More" sprinkled in between.
Petty and band also perform the occasional track from Petty's fine new solo album, "Highway Companion" ("Square One" was the tune he played last Saturday in Hartford, Conn.).
Petty also has enlisted a host of openers for different sections of the tour, including Pearl Jam, The Strokes, Frank Black and Trey Anastasio. In Camden, the Allman Brothers Band and the Derek Trucks Band will share the bill.
Asked by an interviewer what most amazes him about his three decades in the spotlight, Petty answered, "That it's gone on so long is kind of mind blowing. I certainly never would have thought that. …
"We're in such a nice position now. Things have gone so well. I have people approach me on the streets and say, "Thanks for writing the soundtrack to my life.' I can't tell you how good that makes me feel as a songwriter."
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, with The Allman Brothers Band and Derek Trucks Band, 6 p.m. Friday, Tweeter Center At the Waterfront, Mickle Boulevard and Riverside Drive, Camden, N.J., 215-336-2000, 856-365-1300, www.electricfactory.com. Tickets: $35 and $85.