The Petty Archives

Concerts: Tom Petty: Still Breaking Hearts
By Carly Levison
The Loyola Prep - Thursday, September 28, 2006

Long before we were born, rocker Tom Petty was breaking the hearts of our parent's generation. With his outstanding performance on Thursday, September 17th at Charter One Pavilion, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers proved that age has nothing to do with putting on an unforgettable show. The concert was part of the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 30th Anniversary tour, playing two shows in Chicago on Thursday and Friday night. Opening with the classics that we all know and love such as "Free Falling" and "Last Dance with Mary Jane," Petty stole the crowd right from the beginning. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers demonstrated pure talent, extending several songs with strong solo performances by lead guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench.

The setting of the concert was perfect. Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island is right on the lake, with a unique lighting design and comfortable seating arrangement. It was nearly sold out, with people of all ages attending. While he appealed to mostly an older crowd, the younger crowd was definitely present.

Although Petty has just released a new solo album entitled "Highway Companion" he only played two of the songs from his new record, "Saving Grace" and "Square One." Even though the crowd appreciated the newer releases, it was songs like "Won," "Back Down" and "Refugee" that got everyone involved. They also mixed in a little Chicago blues, with songs like "Too Much Monkey Business" and a Fleetwood Mac cover "Oh Well." Some of the more ecstatic moments included an acoustic version of "Learning to Fly" which sent chills down my spine and the closing song "American Girl," which is always a favorite.

The Strokes were the opening act for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and I have to admit I was a little disappointed. A lack of energy and enthusiasm from the mostly older crowd was probably the reason for the sub-par performance. The Strokes sounded great, especially with songs like "Red Light," and the closing song "JuiceBox," they were not fit to tour with Petty. Lead singer Julian Casablancas made comments such as "Hopefully, we'll entertain you while you find some drinks and get comfortable." The Strokes were proud to tour with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but the crowd wasn't impressed with their performance.