Thinking Inside the Box (Musically, That Is)
Reviiew by Jon Pareles
The New York Times - November 27, 2009
TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: THE LIVE ANTHOLOGY This expansive, nonchronological anthology proves how consistent Tom Petty's band has sounded through decades and personnel changes. Topped by Mr. Petty's feisty, proudly homely Everyman voice, the midtempo songs cruise down a broad folk-rock highway with off-ramps for blues, British Invasion pop, Southern rock and funk. But the point of the anthology is to show how the Heartbreakers fight routine. They rethink arrangements, open up jams, delve into lesser-known songs and play widely assorted cover versions, from Bo Diddley's "Diddy Wah Diddy" to the Zombies' "I Want You Back Again" to the "Goldfinger" theme. Mr. Petty chose the songs for spontaneity, glimmers of vulnerability and musical perils overcome, including a few songs -- "Melinda," "Surrender," "Drivin' Down to Georgia" -- that never reached studio albums. Clearly, the band members keep listening to one another. The four-CD version is ample; the deluxe box is overwhelming. (Reprise, four CDs, $24.98; five CDs, two DVDs, Blu-ray DVD, vinyl EP, $149.98.)
Petty-ness: Tom Petty releases 'Live Anthology'
By Natalie Rotman
Provo Daily Herald -- Friday, December 4, 2009
Tom Petty has grown up, but not too much.
The 59-year-old spent a year going through thousands of hours of live concert recordings covering Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' tours across three decades.
The result is "The Live Anthology" -- not a greatest hits album, but a multiple-disc set.
There are no overdubs, and the notorious perfectionist can now see why his hard-driven mates were "a good little rock 'n' roll band."
Petty, who said the process was like looking at a family photo album, talks about how watching three films a day helped hone his acclaimed music videos and how his love of English as a kid helped him write some of America's most beloved rock songs.
The Associated Press: What made you want to pull out hours and hours of tape?
Tom Petty: Well, it seemed like a good time to do it and I thought it would be a chore in a way. I started to do it and I just fell in love with the project. ... I spent a year digging out stuff and mixing it. It was great. It was like looking at a photo album, but you can all be in the picture.
Music: Box Sets
By Jim Caligiuri
The Austin Chronicle - Friday, December 11, 2009
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers | The Live Anthology | (Reprise) | ★★★★
The Live Anthology, a career-spanning Tom Petty collection (1978–2007), comes in enough formats to please fans of every stripe. The basic 4-CD, 48-track minibox and the 51-song, 7-LP vinyl set will please most, but if you need the full Heartbreaker experience, go for the deluxe box with an extra CD (upping the track total to 62), two DVDs of unreleased material, a vinyl pressing of the Official Live 'Leg bootleg from 1976, and a Blu-ray disc that contains all the material on the CDs in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound, plus posters, a large format book, and other memorabilia. Fanatics can visit the Anthology website, where there's even more content. Others have released similar live collections; Bruce Springsteen and the Grateful Dead come to mind, and like those endeavors, Anthology exposes the Heartbreakers' range and influences. While some may quibble that the set isn't chronologically ordered, that makes each disc more like a concert unto itself. All the hits and some deep cuts are present and accounted for, but the covers are the most interesting, from the obvious (the Byrds' "Ballad of Easy Rider," Thunderclap Newman's "Something in the Air") to the unexpected (Van Morrison's "Mystic Eyes"). On one of the DVDs, 400 Days, a previously unavailable document filmed during the making of 1995's Wildflowers and the resulting tour, Petty perfectly describes the band's enduring attraction: "There's really not more to us than what you see and what you hear. We're not trying to deliver any hidden messages. It's all really obvious. We're just trying to make good music."
Gift boxes: Get a set for your music fan
By Allan Sculley
Provo Daily Herald - Sunday, December 20, 2009
The economy may have been in its worst recession since the Great Depression, but that didn't stop record companies from putting out a bumper crop of box sets. Here's a look at the best of the bunch, any of which would make great gifts this holiday season.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: "Live Anthology" (Reprise) -- Anyone who has seen Petty and the Heartbreakers in concert knows this is one of rock's very best live bands. This four-disc set spans performances from 1980 through 2007, and as expected there are stellar performances of many of the band's hits. The Heartbreakers have also always had a special talent for covers, and Petty smartly included a generous number of outside tunes. (Bo Diddley, the Grateful Dead and Van Morrison are among those represented.) Still, even at 47 tracks, "Live Anthology" actually feels a bit thin. How about a sequel, Mr. Petty?
Tom Petty's live legacy gets the mega-box-set treatment
By Mike Snider
USA Today - December 20, 2009
What started out as a simple live CD project for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers evolved into a multi-disc testament to the band's nearly 30 years on stage.
Project producer/engineer Ryan Ulyate found 3,509 songs from 169 recorded live shows over the band's career and quickly realized that one disc would not be sufficient. He, Petty and guitarist Mike Campbell got to work pruning. "If it didn't grab us in the first minute, then it didn't make the short list," says Ulyate in an LP-sized book that comes with the new Live Anthology.
What sounds like a chore actually "turned into a really good time, and I really enjoyed it," says Petty, in a recording of responses to questions e-mailed to him.