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No broken hearts with Tom Petty

17

July

Petty There's something so simply sublime about a band of hirsute musicians, armed only with instruments invented 50 years ago, taking the stage and conquering an arena full of rock n' roll fans.

It's a Herculean task that only Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers can handle these days. And our estranged Florida musicians did it with guts, muscle and a zen-like spell that they cast wide over the nearly full St. Pete Times Forum on Wednesday night.

Click here to read Sean Daly's review. Here are some other highlights:

WINWOOD RULES: Booking Steve Winwood as the opening act for Petty was a bold move. Winwood took a while to get rolling but killed with his catalog of hits dating back to the mid '60s, including the never-ordinary "Can't Find My Way Home" from his Blind Faith days.

FORGET THE SUPER BOWL: Remember the stiff performance Petty delivered during the Super Bowl halftime show earlier this year? Good. Now forget about it. Seriously. Burn every detail from your brain. On stage Wednesday, Petty was playful, engaged and mobile. Up his arthritis meds and he'd probably do a drum-stand kick like David Lee Roth.

THE SET LIST: Gotta admire any band that commits to a huge tour like Petty and the Heartbreakers, who are far removed from the good ole days playing Dub's Bar in Gainesville for free beer and a cut of the door. But the band's ability to tinker with the set list each night on this tour is also commendable. Fans were left guessing song to song, and that's what makes a show like this worth the ticket price.

HIGH POINTS: From the opening "You Wreck Me," through "Even The Losers" and "End of the Line," it's nearly impossible to find any song that didn't sound nearly perfect live. "Learning to Fly" benefited from a smaller, lighter arrangement, while "American Girl" -- the closer -- soared higher with Mike Campbell's frantic guitar work.

LOW POINTS: This was the best show I've seen so far this year, so it's nearly impossible to pick the off tunes. "Sweet William" and "Honey Bee," though, seemed like popular restroom-break songs for some of the audience, even though the tunes were executed perfectly.

LESS IS MORE:
Tell this to Bon Jovi, Kanye West and any other musician who feels they need to shake their goods around to get squeals from the audience: On Wednesday night in Tampa, Tom Petty showed everyone that all you need are great songs and expert musicianship. Anything else is a waste of time.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:36pm]

    

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