As Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers hit the road for a summer tour, their Indianapolis stop on Saturday night (June 15) is the first after multi-night stands at small theaters in both New York and LA. The band heads to Bonnaroo the day after Indy, so this will be the first outdoor/shed/large venue show of the trek – not that it should matter. Petty always rocks. This time, however, they have decided to scatter a few hits while hitting a lot of great forgotten album tracks. Hell, they are playing “Tweeter and the Monkey Man”, one of the great, largely buried cuts from the first Traveling Willbury’s album.
If there’s one band that best represents American Rock music in the past 30 years, I’d give the title to Petty & the Heartbreakers. Sounding not from one place (belying the band’s strong Florida roots), but from everywhere. It enables them to connect with rednecks and hippies, east coast attitude and west coast shine. They can rock loud. Tom can be acoustic quiet. Lyrics resonate. Petty can sweat and smile at the same time. It is a band that has been making music for almost 40 years, the most recent album, Mojo, released in 2010. That record is both a departure for the band, and a rejuvenating set of music. I’m a big E Street Band and Pearl Jam fan, but still give the nod to the quintessential American rock and roll to Petty and his boys when it comes to the package of accessibility, passion and sweet-ass rock and roll hooks.
Here for you, my friends, is the Rockforward list of Petty’s 7 Essential Albums (and a couple that were too good to leave off).
Almost a week after the Bob Seger show at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, I’m caught myself thinking about the show, and how soulful and energized the Detroit rock icon was.
He played 2 hours, 20 minutes, and mixed the setlist up just enough to make it interesting with some deep cuts. Seger played to the back of the hall as much as the front row. And he did both. We weren’t standing close, though dead-ahead center with the stage, 20 yards behind the soundboard.
When I saw him in 2006, I found a happy place in the top row of the upper deck, with a straight on view of the stage. I had moved four songs into that show that November night, after having heard enough of the muddy sound the venue is so famous – that’s what a cheap upper deck, side stage ticket from a scalper 10 minutes before the show will sometimes get you. But once I relocated, it was magical. Because Seger is about the voice, the songs and the band. Not the flash, the light show or the wardrobe changes.
Last Saturday night, Seger reinvested in the heartland rock and roll that he does better than anyone else, and has formed the template for hundreds (thousands) of bands. And, defying a bit of age and both the good and band of having spent so much of his life on a stage, he did that magical rock and roll thing again, aided mightily by a crowd that knew that songs, and songs that are still rock and roll relevant.