October 16, 1999
Bowl, Hollywood, California
"At this splendid concert on an overcast Saturday
night, a revitalized Tom Petty and his dependable band the Heartbreakers
gave a worthy performance indeed. To the audience at a packed Hollywood
Bowl, the veteran everyman-rocker promised a memorable evening of "100%
American rock 'n' roll," and that he certainly delivered.
Wrapping a grueling four-month
U.S. schedule at the Bowl, Petty and his longtime mates gave an advanced
lesson in straight-ahead rock music with a heart, offering hit after
familiar hit in a two-hour-plus program that affectionately visited all
facets of Petty's impressive 20-year recording career.
Many of Petty's better known
radio faves, like "Runnin' Down a Dream," 1979's "Don't Do Me Like That"
and encore entry "Free Fallin'," with its crowd-pleasing references to the
San Fernando Valley, were offered in album-true versions that brought the
house to its feet and to its collective singing voice.
Elsewhere, the burning emotion
of "Breakdown" gave way to a long and happy guitar jam, and "Walls," from
the album Petty recorded for the 1996 film She's
the One, was stripped down to its nifty acoustic foundation. The racy
"Mary Jane's Last Dance," from Petty's 1993 Greatest Hits set, was the show's surprise
... closed with a rousing take on the classic "Gloria," featuring three
identical cherry red Gibson 335 guitars played by Petty, Mike Campbell and
Scott Thurston, and the finale "American Girl," which was dramatically
accompanied by pairs of behind-stage sky-tracking spotlights."
Augusto, Reuters/Variety, October 16,
October 7, 1999
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
"Playing before a stadium
packed primarily with baby boomers, Petty and his crack band, the
Heartbreakers, rocked the United Center with a hits-heavy set that was
long on cheeseburger-and-fries American rock and short on dull moments.
... Thursday night at the
United Center, he [Petty] let out the secret once again: The man is one of
the last of a dying breed, a full-fledged rock star. Taking to the stage
in a long burgundy coat and leather pants and vest, Petty was every inch
the front man who can rock hard with a brand of rock influenced by
everybody from the Byrds, Beatles and Stones to Stax soul.
But Petty didn't just play the
music; he played the crowd, too. From the outsized gestures on the
set-opening "Jammin' Me" to the call-and-response on "Breakdown" and the
trippy shenanigans on "Don't Come Around Here No More," Petty was a
larger-than-life, affable stage presence who could deliver from stage to
the cheap seats.
it doesn't hurt to have one of rock's most reliable bands working with
you. Thursday, the rhythm section of drummer Steve Ferrone and bassist
Howie Epstein provided a sturdy backdrop for the simple elegance of
Benmont Tench's keyboards and the soaring lead guitar of Mike
But in the end,
these were [this was] ... a rock star trying to share his sense of goofy
Jeff Wisser, Chicago Sun
Times, October 8, 1999
October 1, 1999
Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
"Petty and the Heartbreakers jolted open a recent show
with the stop-start guitar stomp of "Jammin’ Me," the tricky riff of
"Runnin’ Down a Dream" and the halting backbeat and familiar six-string
melody of "Breakdown." It only got better from there, with grabbing
renditions of "Swingin’" and "Free Girl Now" from the new Echo CD (Warner), and a final blast of "American
Girl." The two-hour show offered proof of a truth that’s becoming
self-evident: These Florida-rooted boys are as tight and mighty as the
Rolling Stones were in their prime — a real rock band that can crush this
Philip Booth, [Philadelphia] www.citypaper.net, October 2,
September 28, 1999
Bi-Lo Center, Greenville, South Carolina
"That Tom Petty and the
Heartbreakers have a way with plugged-in guitars has never been in
But Tuesday night
at the Bi-Lo Center, they showed their acoustic chops as well. In fact, a
couple of slowed-down songs generated some of the biggest impact of the
There was a pretty
version of the usually up-tempo "Walls," but the real show-piece was "I
Won't Back down." With Petty on acoustic guitar and lead guitarist Mike
Campbell picking a mandolin, the group put a slight country flair on the
tune. Petty's no-compromise lyrics, which come across as angry defiance on
the recorded version of the song, took a tone of calm fortitude in this
rendition. The resolve was still there, but the change of attitude added a
note of strength to the song.
The Heartbreakers, as usual, were top-notch.
Campbell's outstanding guitar work got some well-deserved time in the
spotlight, and Benmont Tench added a nice jazzy piano piece to "It's Good
To Be King."
Donna Isbell Walker, Greenville News, September 30, 1999
September 24, 1999
Lakewood Amphitheater, Atlanta, Georgia
"... legendary rockers Tom
Petty and the Heartbreakers brushed aside rumors that rock is dead with a
vibrant show covering nearly two decades of hits ... As if to brush off
the austere feel of today's techno and thrash rock, the blond rocker
didn't deviate one guitar chord from the soaring sounds that made a star
nearly two decades ago. Mike Campbell's sustained guitar solos and Benmont
Tench's soulful keyboards weaved together as if they were coming through a
set of fat headphones ... Judging from the packed house, peppered with
both young and middle-aged faces, Petty has been at it long enough to find
himself an anomaly. He's a classic rocker who still has something to
Rickard L. Eldredge, Atlanta Journal, September 25, 1999
September 22, 1999
Coral Sky Amphitheater, West Palm Beach,
"Petty and the
Heartbreakers, closing fast on their 25th year, nevertheless coaxed pure
joy -- for themselves and the audience -- from a two-hour set of pithy
tunes so familiar and beloved they are the connective tissue of all
classic rock music from the late 1970s onward...
Having started strong, Petty
and the cheerfully ragged-looking band -- guitarist Mike Campbell, bassist
Howie Epstein, keyboardist Benmont Tench, drummer Steve Ferrone and
awesome utility man Scott Thurston -- settled in for an evening outdoors
that mixed guitar-shop fun with garage-band chumminess.
The protean set included songs
from the group's excellent new album, Echo, and
three decades' worth of rock 'n' roll delights...
The sweet melancholy of the Echo album eased nicely into the patchwork of
Petty's wide-ranging songbook. The new tune "Free Girl Now" was perfectly
matched to its older three-chord sibling, "You Wreck Me." Played back to
back, they propelled the set toward an effusive close that included a
cover of Them's "Gloria" and Petty's own "American Girl."
By the end, Petty and the
Heartbreakers had fully covered the american rock audio landscape, which
was to be expected: They have practically owned that space for years."
Piccoli, www.sun-sentinel.com, September
September 21, 1999
Ice Palace, Tampa, Florida
"For the first time in four
years, the band whose beginnings date back more than a quarter century to
the Central Florida garage band Mudcrutch treated fans at the Ice Palace
to a two-hour sampling of why they remain one of rock's most artful
plugged into a battery of ancient amplifiers added a vibrancy to Petty's
Big pop beats and energetic guitar aesthetics are
Petty's specialty, and they drove familiar songs such as "Don't Do Me Like
That," "You Wreck Me" and "Don't Come Around Here No More" with a
precision that can only come from a band that still enjoys performing
together. Original members, including guitarist Mike Campbell, keyboardist
Benmont Tench and bassist Howie Epstein, and complimented by drummer Steve
Ferrone and guitarist Scott Thurston, showed their prowess often, but
being the precision unit that fans have associated with Petty was perhaps
their greatest attribute."
Logan Neill, St. Petersburg Times, September 22, 1999
"Florida native Tom Petty got
a warm homecoming welcome from a crowd estimated at around 12,000 at the
Ice Palace Tuesday night.
Petty and his excellent band, the Heartbreakers earned
"It's Good to
be King" was one of the concert's peaks. The extended version of the song,
from Petty's 1994 album Wildflowers, gave
guitarist Mike Campbell some space to stretch, which he used exceedingly
well. Campbell is one of rock 'n' roll's most economical instrumentalists,
a quality he maintained through several minutes of guitar heroics, some in
tandem with Petty, that never once approached tedium...
Petty and Campbell may have
spent the most time in the sporlight-this is a guitar band, after all. But
the rest of the Heartbreakers are equally excellent. Keyboardist Benmont
Tench added shading and color to every number, while Howie Epstein
contributed solid bass work as well as harmony vocals throughout the set.
Auxiliary Heatbreaker-Scott Thurston joined Epstein for harmonies and also
added keyboards, harmonica and a third guitar. Drummer Steve Ferrone kept
up a thunderous backbeat."
Curtis Ross, The Tampa Tribune, September 23, 1999
September 16, 1999
Starplex Amphitheater, Dallas, Texas
"I've been going to Tom Petty
concerts for 20 years now, and he's never given a bad show -- not even
... His hits-filled
set was the perfect antidote to seeing many of his contemporaries struggle
with the passage of time. He's just one of those guys who, when he walks
into a room, rock 'n' roll comes with him.
... Kicking off at 9:15 p.m. with "Jammin' Me" and
"Runnin' Down A Dream," Petty and band -- guitarist Mike Campbell, bassist
Howie Epstein, keyboardist Benmont Tench, guitarist/harmonica player Scott
Thurston and drummer Steve Ferrone -- were in fighting trim. Led by
Campbell's sinewy guitar and Tench's organ, the band worked through
favorites such as Mary Jane's Last Dance" and countrified "I Won't Back
Down" that turned into giant sing-alongs.
Dressed in leather pants, a vest and a frilly
Edwardian shirt, Petty sang as well as I've ever heard him ..."
Ferman, Star-Telegram, September 17,
September 13, 1999
Red Rocks Amphitheater, Denver, Colorado
"From the very first drum beat
and the opening flash of stage lights, the sellout crowd was jumping,
swaying and shouting. Petty whipped the band into "Jammin' Me," followed
by a rousing, thumping version of "Runnin' Down A Dream...
Petty was having fun. "You're
just wild and crazy out there, aren't you? he said after "Don't Do Me Like
That." "I love it."
Right out of the gate and throughout the show, guitarist Mike Campbell,
bassist Howie Epstein and keyboardist Benmont Tench were strutting their
stuff. They were crisp, tight and teamed up for bluesy harmonies in a
folksy version of "[I] Won't Back Down."
... Early in the show, Petty pulled out one of the new
ones, "Swingin'" -- a song about a good girl gone band. The audience --
including long-haired "Deadheads" and ballcap-wearing suburbanites --
bopped and bounced to the latest from Petty.
... Petty is still cranking out hard-rockers and
rugged ballads with that same sly zest. And he's still having fun."
Briggs, The Denver Post, September 14,
September 5, 1999
The Gorge Amphitheater, George, Washington
"Midway through his show at
The Gorge Sunday, Tom Petty told the audience, "The greatest thing in my
life is to be here on stage with my old friends The Heartbreakers."
It was the kind of comment
that was obviously genuine and utterly unnecessary. Watching Petty and his
band on stage, their love for the craft of rock 'n' roll was plenty clear
-- with or without words.
Sunday was night two of Petty's two-show stand at The
Gorge, and he broke out a victorious string of his hits. These were
Americana tales of heartbreak and triumph, told with the gleeful intensity
of a band that remains as vital today as it was in the '70s.
(guitarist Mike Campbell, keyboardist Benmont Tench, bassist Howie
Epstein, drummer Steve Ferrone and multi-instrumentalist Scott Thurston)
were tight and top-notch in the execution of their rootsy psychedelic
sound. Campbell took over as lead singer for "I Don't Wanna Fight,"
proving himself an "A" student in the Petty/Dylan school of nasal
defies historical categorization in its timeless sound. There was no
better proof of that than the hour-long interpretive dance performed by
the lanky 20-year-old standing next to me. He was just one of many
enthusiastic young fans in this crowd that also defied age
Winda Benedetti, www.spokane.net, September 8, 1999
September 4, 1999
The Gorge Amphitheater, George, Washington
"Dressed in a black coat,
pants and vest, with a white, ruffled shirt, Petty got off to a furious
start with "Jammin' Me" and "Runnin' Down A Dream" -- which included an
attention-getting jam by longtime guitarist Mike Campbell.
If the band hadn't toured for
four years, it was hard to tell. They cranked out a flawless two hours of
ageless, back-to-basics rock that wasn't too heavy on new material from
his current release, Echo, and included most of
hearing Petty's new material alongside songs two decades old showed just
how consistent he is -- the flip side of sameness. He's a no-nonsense
musician who hasn't messed with reinventing himself or bowing to
Mark Rahner, The Seattle Times, September 5, 1999
September 1, 1999
Rose Garden, Portland, Oregon
"... Petty and company
certainly appeared to enjoy themselves, and yet somehow they don't seem a
day older than when last they played here four years ago. Sure, there's
not quite as much demonstrative camaraderie (facing off with guitars,
jostling shoulders, that sort of thing) or dancing around, but otherwise
these guys still are going for it like the swaggering young guns they once
were ... He [Petty] doesn't rest on the laurels of familiarity; he
relights the fire behind every song.
It's not as though he hasn't matured. He still can
make a racket for its own sake, as he did here in a comically hip version
of the bar-room classic "Gloria", or kick up a fuss for a good cause, as
with the recent single "Free Girl Now", which deals with sexual
harassment. But a more thoughtful side to Petty's character has emerged in
recent years. "You Don't Know How It Feels", for instance, moves beyond
the defiance of "Jammin' Me" and "I Won't Back Down" into a more measured
resilience, a sturdy dignity that withstands the sadness.
Of course, the Heartbreakers
probably could make the Milli Vanilli songbook sound great. Campbell has
long been Petty's right-hand man, and his playing continues to be a
marvel. From the cool, jazzy riff he pulled out for the end of "Breakdown"
to the chiming figure that closed "Listen To Her Heart", from the big-note
twang of "Runnin' Down a Dream" and "You Got Lucky" to the faux-raga intro
of "Don't Come Around Here No More", Campbell's command of tonal nuance
and economical construction was flawless.
If only it hadn't all gone by so fast.
Hughly, The Oregonian, September 3, 1999
August 30, 1999
Arco Arena, Sacramento, California
"A Tom Petty and the
Heartbreakers concert is practically a guaranteed good show, which was the
case at Monday night's concert for 10,000 fans at Arco Arena. The group
has more than two decades of experience performing together, and has some
of the catchiest tunes in rock music. Petty had to postpone two concerts
last week because of throat problems. It seems that the rest paid off, and
throughout the night Petty's voice sounded solid.
... Some of the group's most
compelling moments came when the volume was scaled back a bit, which in
turn made the band's dynamic sense more evident. Petty sang a stirring
acoustic version of "I Won't Back Down," and without electric guitars
blaring in the background, the lyrics took a more reflective tone with the
somber tinge to Petty's vocals. "Walls," also performed with
acoustic-electric guitar, similarly had a warm, introspective touch.
The band was equally riveting
when it played full-blown rock 'n' roll songs, which included electrifying
versions of "Jammin' Me," "You Wreck Me" and "American Girl..."
Petty's set was a grab bag of
hits from the group's recording career, and songs from the band's latest
album, Echo, translated well to the live arena.
The stomper "Free Girl Now" sat perfectly in the set with Petty's FM rock
classic "American Girl," and the melancholy rocker "Swingin'" had a
walloping ending that featured lean, mean electric guitar leads from
Chris Macias, The
Sacramento Bee, September 1, 1999
August 27, 1999
Amphitheatre - Mt. View, California
"Much has been made of Bruce Springsteen regrouping
the E Street Band to tour this year ... But for my money, the E Street
Band is not the best backing group in the business. That distinction goes
to the Heartbreakers.
Petty and the Heartbreakers played to roughly 20,000 rabid fans Friday
night at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, the first of a
two-night stand, and the fact that the show was a success had as much to
do with the backing musicians as it did with Petty himself...
Just after 9 p.m., the house
went dark, and then with a burst of adrenaline, drums and guitar, the
lights were raised, and Petty and the Heartbreakers hit the crowd with
"Jammin' Me," from 1987's Let Me Up (I've Had
kicked into a higher gear for "Runnin' Down A Dream" ... The live version
also included a ferocious solo by [Mike] Campbell that kept getting more
intense as the song drew to a close.
... It's good to live in the Bay Area if you are a
Petty fan. Back in early '97, the rocker played a long residency of shows
at the comparatively dinky 1,000 capacity Fillmore in San Francisco, and
returned for another stint earlier this year. It was a chance to see a
legendary performer at his prime, still at the point where he can fill
amphitheaters and arenas, in an intimate environment. Some of the
renditions of songs that he would work out on the Fillmore stage would
find their way to the big show Friday, such as the softer take on "I Won't
Petty and his
band closed the show with a terrific triple-shot encore of "Free Fallin',"
"Gloria" and "American Girl." Nobody was thinking about the E Street Band
as they walked out to their cars, the last strains of "American Girl"
still echoing in their heads. This night belonged to the
Jim Harrington, Contra
Costa Times, August 30, 1999
August 21, 1999
The Joint, Hard
Rock Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada
"... while Petty and company are set to return to Las
Vegas in mid-October ... the cramped confines of the Hard Rock lent
Saturday's show an intimacy that won't be recaptured in an arena.
Starting things off with a
classic rocker, "Around & Around," the willowy, blond-haired Petty
looked, and sounded, much like he did when he rolled through town for a
one-nighter at the Aladdin Theater for the Arts in 1981...
... they ["You Got Lucky,"
"Even The Losers"] were delivered with such an earnest manner by Petty
that they maintain a durable sense of conflicting teen emotions laid bare.
"Babe, it couldn't have been that easy to forget about me," Petty sang in
the otherwise self-deprecating "Even the Losers" while "You Got Lucky"
leans on a self-affirming hope that the girl left behind will someday
appreciate the good things he brought to her life...
Petty ... appeared pleased by
way of ready smiles and his upbeat demeanor, talking most about his love
of the Everly Brothers...
The sense of timelessness ... likely ensures another
decade or two of good music with an underlying message that all hearts can
be healed even though the scar tissue on the soul will never fade."
Paskevich, Las Vegas Review-Journal, August
August 19, 1999
America West Arena - Phoenix, Arizona
"After four years away from
the concert circuit, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers let Phoenix know
Thursday night that there's still room at the top for their straight-ahead
brand of American rock and roll.
... Petty seemed to effortlessly move through his
well-crafted songs and often had the crowd singing along. Guitarist Mike
Campbell looked downright casual as he reeled off one flawless solo after
Petty's good karma
is contagious, and he had the audience in the palm of his hand from the
slashing first chords of "Jammin' Me" through an encore that included the
garage-band gem "Gloria."
... The driving "Free Girl Now," also from Echo, had the crowd dancing, but 1994's "You Wreck
Me" was the ultimate rocker of the evening. The latter's no-frills,
meat-and-potatoes chord work and lyrics epitomized Petty and the
Heartbreakers at their best."
Larry Rodgers, The Arizona Republic, August 20, 1999
August 18, 1999
Coors Amphitheatre, Chula Vista, CA
"Touring together for the
first time in four years, Petty and company -- guitarist Mike Campbell,
keyboardist Benmont Tench, bassist Howie Epstein and honorary
Heartbreakers Steve Ferrone (drums) and Scott Thurston (guitars and
keyboards) -- sounded as tight as always and more committed than
From the bristling
double whammy of "Jammin' Me" and "Runnin' Down A Dream" that opened the
show to the exhilarating versions of "Gloria" and "American Girl" that
brought it roaring to a close more than two hours later, Petty and his
23-year-old band performed with the intuitive finesse of the pros they are
and the wild-eyed music lovers they continue to be...
Petty can still yowl like a
junkyard dog and purr like a pussycat, and the Heartbreakers can still
match him step for cagey step.
... Petty's room at the top had a panoramic view that
featured a promising chunk of the road ahead. Tom Petty and the
Heartbreakers are still motoring forward, and the rest of us would be wise
to hop on board, or be left in the dust."
Karla Peterson, The San Diego Union-Tribune, August 20, 1999
August 13, 1999
Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre - Irvine,
they're the best rockers touring today...
Quite simply, there is no better band in rock right
now than Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers...
In fact, none of them [the Black Crowes, Wilco, Bruce
Springsteen and the E Street Band, the Stones] come close to the inspiring
chemistry, expert intuition, force-of-nature fury and sheer excitement of
the Heartbreakers. Miraculously, they seem to get better and better with
... Petty writes
from deep within his pure rock 'n' roll heart to speak to the everyday and
the universal, but in ways so personal to him you feel nosy for having
imagined they might relate to you. It's the sort of subtly emotional
terrain that Petty has charted again and again, and the Heartbreakers
'60s-weaned but timeless sound makes the mapping that much easier.
All of that passionate
conviction was there in those hits Friday night, of course, and it was
jaw-dropping to be reminded just how many instant classics Petty has
written this decade alone...
For stellar, take the killer finale of "American Girl"
or that amazing remake of "Gloria," complete with a rambling but
humorously tall tale tossed in the middle of it. For invention, try Petty
greatly rethinking "I Won't Back Down" as an Eagles-ish acoustic number
(and, wow, what harmonies) or shifting the bittersweet "Walls," one of his
most tender songs, away from its midtempo toe-tapping and toward a more
aching, almost, um, heartbroken plea.
... Most rock shows these days wear out their welcome
at an hour. Petty and the Heartbreakers were just getting warmed up after
two. To think of what they might have done with a third."
Wener, The Orange County Register, August
"Echo, released last spring, is the most personal,
penetrating and perhaps finest album of Petty's career. That's something
to celebrate in a band that debuted in 1976 and stands as the last of
rock's arena-level old guard, a breed we expect to recycle old glories,
not thrive with fresh inspiration...
The two-hour-plus set saw Petty and band navigate
through four hits from the '70s, six from the '80s, five from the pre-Echo '90s, two garage-rock songs from the 1960s,
and four songs--not nearly enough--from the new album.
... The new stuff came across
with a special spark ... overall, there was nothing tired about the
recitation of hits; songs such as "Don't Come Around Here No More," "Free
Fallin'," "American Girl" and "You Got Lucky" are sturdy and reliable, and
Petty and the Heartbreakers fired many of them up with long jams that were
models of what rock classicism should be: precision married to
Mike Boehm, The Los Angeles
Times, August 16, 1999
August 7, 1999
The Pyramid -
Petty the songwriter is like a great filmmaker, casting his lens on
characters we not only remember but have come to care about: the woman who
"might need a lot of lovin' but she don't need you" in "Listen To Her
Heart;" the girl who goes down "Swingin'" on his latest album, Echo -- and on that one, Petty didn't miss a beat,
adding to the refrain "she went down swingin' like Elvis Presley!"
Of course, Petty's songs
couldn't plead their case without the brilliant Heartbreakers: guitarist
Mike Campbell, keyboardist Benmont Tench and bassist Howie Epstein, joined
on stage by drummer Steve Ferrone and guitarist Scott Thurston.
... knowing when to back off,
which the Heartbreakers did for a stripped-down acoustic arrangement of "I
Won't Back Down." Consisting of little more than Petty's simple strums on
guitar plus near-bluegrass harmonies, the song wrapped the audience around
Petty's finger. Here was a diehard romantic and 11,000 believers...
[Lucinda] Williams turned her
country blues into glorious roots rock, especially on pumped-up versions
of ... "Change The Locks," the song Tom Petty covered on his soundtrack to
She's The One. Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench
couldn't help jamming on stage with Williams for that one."
Ellis, The Commercial Appeal, August 8,
August 3, 1999
Target Center - Minneapolis, Minnesota
"... as the two-hour and
ten-minute performance went on, a theme developed: Each song deftly
reflected the struggle of the common man and woman...
Song after song they came,
stories about people seeking strength from within: The down-but-not-out
heroine in "Swingin'." The restless vagabond in "Runnin' Down A Dream."
The semi-cad-in-need-of-more on the verge of a "Breakdown." The resilient
loser in "Room At The Top." The emancipated waitress of "Free Girl Now."
The cocky survivor in "I Won't Back Down." The royalty-in-his-dreams of
"It's Good To Be King."
like the ageless-looking Petty, his characters could have been hatched in
1979 just as well as 1999. And his band of 25 years brought every one to
life with an uncommon fire, thanks largely to the guitar assault cranked
out by Petty and guitarist Mike Campbell. There were ringing guitars.
Screaming guitars. Strumming guitars. Telecasters. Stratocasters. Flying
V's. Hollow bodies. Double-necked monstrosities."
Walsh, Pioneer Press, August 4, 1999
July 31, 1999
New World Music Theatre - Tinley Park, Illinois
"... Tom Petty put on one of the best arena shows of
the summer Saturday night. The Everyman rocker and his longtime backing
band the Heartbreakers were all the more likable for their ordinariness.
One could easily imagine them playing in a bar or a garage as before a
sold-out house at the New World Music Theatre--and that's a
Mike Campbell claimed the spotlight during a well-executed surf medley and
a rave-up jam on "It's Good To Be King," but the heart of the
Heartbreakers' sound was keyboardist Benmont Tench, who never failed to
choose the perfect tones to accent his bandmates' Byrdsy jangle."
DeRogatis, Chicago Sun-Times, August 2,
"... Judging by their
performance at the New World Music Theatre on Saturday, Petty and company
arguably can lay claim to also being the best purebred rock 'n' roll band
A simple glance at
the elaborately candle-laden stage and massive, incense-filled lights
hanging from the rafters showed that the band carried with it a sense of
purpose in its first road trip in four years...
... while the classics were plentiful, Petty didn't so
much relive the past as neatly merge his pedigree with some of the finer
tunes off of the band's latest release, Echo.
For every "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and "Don't Do Me
Like That," there was a song such as "Swingin'" that allowed Petty to flex
his creative muscles while paying homage to the Sonny Listons and Sammy
Davises of the world.
also displayed a freshness on such modernistic tracks as "Room At The Top"
and "Free Girl Now" that allowed him to experiment without ever straying
too far from his roots."
Jason Paha, Daily
Southtown, August 3, 1999
July 30, 1999
Amphitheater - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
"Friday night's show at the Marcus Amphitheater by Tom
Petty was at once soothing and exciting, nostalgic and stirring.
The combination of 20,000 fans
wedged into the amphitheater on a 90-plus-degree evening made for added
energy and heat. Yet with the solidly baby-boomer audience, familiar with
the parade of hits - bar and jukebox classics going back more than 20
years - there also was a laid-back feel hanging in the balmy air, as if
Petty and his boys were merely the house band of their favorite
been their leader so long, the Heartbreakers seem more like buddies
working in a large, family-run business than strictly musicians for hire,
with [guitarist Mike] Campbell, bassist Howie Epstein (a Milwaukee
native), drummer Steve Ferrone and rhythm guitarist Scott Thurston
offering the kind of intricate pop overlay that is crafted as much from
hanging out together in bars as in rehearsal studios."
Carter, Journal Sentinel, July 31, 1999
July 23, 1999
Deer Creek Amphitheater - Indianapolis, Indiana
"Tom Petty essentially played
the role of "TP Jukebox" Friday night. The good news is that his jukebox
of memorable rock standards could play long after the 2 hr-15 minute time
allowed at Deer Creek Music Center. A sold out audience of 21,000 was
treated to hit after hit, all worthy of individual attention...
The openers were "Jammin' Me"
and "Runnin' Down A Dream," a still-searing track thanks to Mike
Campbell's ever-underrated guitar work.
... "Mary Jane's Last Dance," probably Petty's finest
single since his consistently brilliant Full Moon
Fever album, brought down the house with its Indiana references. An
acoustic version of "I Won't Back Down" worked as a bluegrass number:
Petty and Epstein on high harmony and Campbell on mandolin.
... because the Heartbreakers
sound remains so entirely appealing the show didn't wax nostalgic."
Lindquist, The Indianapolis Star, July,
July 9, 1999
Tweeter Center - Mansfield, Massachusetts (Boston,
small club to which Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers belong. Twenty years
on, America's premiere roots rock outfit not only command huge crowds and
win critical praise, they've racked up an impressive list of hits that
cross gender, race and age lines in their appeal.
Last night's two hour and 15
minute set, the first of two at a nearly sold out Tweeter Center, featured
23 songs, almost all of which were quality, charting hits.
But more importantly, the
sextet played, on their first tour in four years, with fire, grace and
whimsy, and showed a respect for one another that spilled off the stage
into their boisterously appreciative audience...
New album Echo was well represented by the Motown-style
stomper "Free Girl Now," the gentle to jagged "Room at the Top" and a
loosely grooving "Swingin'" featuring the harmonica filigrees of Scott
Petty was truly
gracious throughout the set but showed his gratefulness best by adding two
encores to his printed set list..."
Sarah Rodman, Boston Herald, July 19, 1999
"This is the first time in
four years that we've been on the road," said the ever-affable Petty. "And
the most fun of it is that I get to be up here with my friends..."
"... a shimmering set from Tom
Petty and the Heartbreakers, who played like an unstoppable, joyously
coordinated team. Petty and company were hot as the rajah-like red
draperies and incense burners that lent a fiery flavor to the evening
right away. And the band's restive, rootsy tales of life in search of
romance and other dreams were blasted through an outstanding sound system
-- a new, state-of-the-art Vidas system from France. The result was one of
the best sounding shows in memory at this sometimes cavernous shed.
The Heartbreakers jumped out
of the gate with "Jammin' Me," "Runnin' Down a Dream," and the
New song "Swingin'" was about a woman who comes out
"swingin' like Charlie Parker ... Benny Goodman ... and Sonny Liston,"
Petty sang with a retro glee...
Guitarist Mike Campbell, besides slamming out one
classic riff after another, sang for the first time in concert (the
hook-filled "I Don't Wanna Fight," in which he actually sounded a lot like
Petty) and took off on a surf-rock lounge jam through the Ventures'
"Penetration." A nice change of pace.
The guitar hammer went down again later, with the
likes of "You Got Lucky," the slashing new "Free Girl Now," the visceral
"You Wreck Me," and the ageless "American Girl."
Morse, The Boston Globe, July 10, 1999
July 6, 1999
Molson Amphitheatre - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"Like the strong, cool breeze
that finally broke Toronto's uncomfortable heatwave of the last few days,
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers were a welcome sight at the Molson
Amphitheatre last night.
... the band were in exceptionally tight shape, having
been on the road for three weeks with the equally pleasing-to-the-ears
Lucinda Williams, and managed to deliver a performance unmatched by
anything thus far in this summer's ho-hum concert season...
... The set list stretched all
the way back to such '70s morsels as "Breakdown," "American Girl" and
"Don't Do Me Like That," before moving through Petty's prolific '80s
period with "You Got Lucky," "Don't Come Around Here No More," "Free
Fallin'," "Runnin' Down A Dream" and "I Won't Back Down."
Even the '90s material, "You
Don't Know How It Feels," "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and "Walls," along with
five songs from Echo were all received well by
the audience -- especially the new album's barnburner first single, "Free
Girl Now," and more thoughtful tunes like "Rhino Skin" and "Room At The
... There were red
velvet curtains, gold tassles, ornate hanging lanterns, pillows, plenty of
candles, moving backdrops ... and even a wooden trunk out of which Petty
pulled a black top hat to perform "Don't Come Around Here No More."
Stevenson, Toronto Sun, July 7, 1999
July 2, 1999
Jones Beach Amphitheater - Wantagh, New York
"... True to form, the
Heartbreakers rose to the occasion, never once letting their guard
down...but best of all was an achingly beautiful acoustic reading of
"Walls" (from She's The One), followed by Echo's majestic "Room At The Top."
As impressive as their playing
was (particularly Mike Campbell, surely the most underrated guitarist in
rock alive today), even more impressive was the sense of how much fun they
were having. Petty attacked each song with fresh gusto (and a new guitar);
afterwards, he'd comically stumble as though knocked back by the applause
and respond with enthusiastic thanks like an all-American Roberto
Richard Skanse, RollingStone.com, July 6, 1999
June 30, 1999
PNC Bank Arts Center- Holmdel, New Jersey
"Unlike so many rock
performers spawned in the '70s, Petty is writing some of the strongest
material of his career. Yet, none of those old hits sound the least bit
dated, and, back with his long-time band after several solo albums, Petty
looked so happy to be resurrecting them."
Tammy Paulino, Asbury Park Press, July 3, 1999
"The new material seems to
have reinvigorated both Petty and his longtime band, who appeared looser
than ever but sounded as tight as ever...
When Petty and the band creaked into their chiming new
garage-rocker, "Free Girl Now," the entire crowd was on its feet, roaring
and clapping along. That set the stage for the evening's highest point, a
stratospheric "American Girl" -- demonstrating the consistency of quality
between Petty's oldest and newest songs."
Ben Horowitz, Newark Star-Ledger, July 3, 1999
June 29, 1999
The Meadows Music Theatre - Hartford,
concert burden of a rock star with any longevity is to balance in concert
the oldies fans expect with the new work he really wants to present.
The task for Tom Petty and the
Heartbreakers is even more difficult, as the affable blond star admitted
early in his storm-defying show at Hartford's Meadows Music Theatre on
"I've got so many
songs to play for you tonight -- so many," he said.
Indeed, the sheer number of
his memorable songs can be seen in the songs he didn't have time to
... there did
come some unexpected gems: an acoustic, deliberate "I Won't Back Down"
followed by the early "Listen to Her Heart." Later, a similarly low-key
"Walls" led to a fine version of the new "Room at the Top."
It helped that the
Heartbreakers are such a good band...
A lot of this is thanks to lead guitarist Mike
Campbell, who not only got to be featured in a surf medley spotlight that
melded "Apache" to Neil Young's "Hurricane," but got to sing his own new
song, "I Don't Wanna Fight."
Roger Catlin, The Hartford Courant, June 30, 1999
"...Opening with a
hard-driving version of "Jammin' Me," Petty and his band turned the
concert into a dance-filled festival that looked straight out of
From the very
start, Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell proved to be a brilliant,
hard-rocking talent, providing consistently exciting, innovative leads,
solos, and segues to Petty's solid rhythm guitar playing. For the second
song of the evening, "Runnin' Down A Dream," Campbell played a very cool,
lower-register bridge riff followed by an unbelievably coherent,
that, the crowd went crazy during the syncopated lead-in to the late '70s
FM radio hit, "Breakdown," a steamy rock classic with a wickedly incessant
beat. Petty led the audience in a joyful singalong of "woahs" and "yeahs"
during the song's bridge.
Playing for 2 1/2 hours, the middle-aged men in this
band were clearly in love with their work, calmly enjoying what appeared
visually to be a jam session. But the sounds they were making were just
too clear, distinctive, and imaginative to be anything that haphazard."
Brown, Journal Inquirer, June 30, 1999
June 26, 1999
Waterfront Entertainment Centre - Camden, New
"... For more
than two decades now, he's [Tom Petty] been writing one instantly
memorable radio hit after another, and the '60s-inspired straw-haired
rocker and his erst-while band, the Heartbreakers, have built a career
that's among the most reliable in rock.
... The Heartbreakers, anchored by Steve Ferrone on
drums, are a terrific band. Playing on a stage hung with drip paintings to
look like Jackson Pollock's living room, Campbell wielded his whammy bar
with great dexterity on "You Got Lucky," Benmont Tench's Hammond B-3
rolled in right on time on "Don't Do Me Like That," and on one
well-constructed tune after the next, all the pieces fit together. By the
time the big hooks came out on "Free Fallin'" and "You Wreck Me," Petty
had the crowd in the palm of his hand."
Dan DeLuca, The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 28, 1999
June 25, 2999
Nissan Pavilion - Bristow, Virginia (Washington,
"... Though Petty
performed a quintet of songs from his recent Echo album, he wisely served up an invigorating
career retrospective, a 23-song set...
Kicking off with "Jammin' Me," his smoldering
collaboration with Bob Dylan, and the twangy-guitar driven "Runnin' Down A
Dream," Petty moved easily between forceful roots rockers and emotionally
Campbell, Petty's longtime musical partner, got a pair
of showcases ... "I Don't Wanna Fight" and "Penetration" ... but was
really at his best providing supple, supportive fills, chiming power
chords and sterling leads...
Campbell isn't the only first-rate musician in the
Heartbreakers, of course, just the most visible one. Keyboardist Benmont
Tench provided his usual tasteful colorations, while drummer Steve Ferrone
and bassist Howie Epstein maintained a lean rhythmic momentum that never
overwhelmed the music but pushed it forward and outward as needed.
For instance, on an
introspective new song, "Room At The Top," what started as acoustic
meditation gradually shifted into raucous emotional venting. Another new
song, the Dylanesque "Swingin'," used an insistent sway to champion
independent spirits resisting seemingly settled fates -- Petty updating
his own "I Won't Back Down."
"I'm learning to fly/but I ain't got wings," Petty
mused in his show closer, adding, "Comin' down is the hardest thing." That
may have been a challenge for the fans as well, but it's one they seemed
eager to address."
Richard Harrington, Washington Post, June 28, 1999
June 26, 1999
Star Lake Amphitheatre - Burgettstown, Pennsylvania
"... last night at the Coca-Cola Star Lake
Amphitheatre: "If you're just getting here, I'm Tom Petty. These are the
Heartbreakers. We're gonna be your musical entertainment for the rest of
And just like
that ... the stage was set for a one-band rock 'n' roll revival show that
found America's favorite garage-rock band at the top of its crowd-pleasing
game. The set was a loose, inspired blend of hits that put the classic in
classic rock ("Don't Do Me Like That," "American Girl") and tunes from
Petty's latest, Echo. It's one of the better
albums of the year, so the new material had no trouble holding its own in
the company of "Listen to Her Heart" or "You Got Lucky." ...
Mike Campbell, as expected,
was nothing short of phenomenal on guitar -- his surf-rock medley, in
particular. But Petty got his own licks in, stepping out for a
straight-ahead Chuck Berry-style solo on "Jammin' Me" and trading off with
Campbell at various points throughout the night. Although he introduced
the mighty Benmont Tench as "probably the world's best rock 'n' roll piano
player," the night belonged to the six-string heroics of Campbell and
... Petty proved
as entertaining as ever ... He didn't need a show to sell the music,
though. He's got his band. He's got his songs. And you couldn't have asked
for a better garage-rock vocalist than Petty throwing attitude on "Free
Girl Now," a new song and the best performance of the evening."
Masley, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 24,
"Backed by his
longstanding mates, the Heartbreakers, the performance was a portrait of
the artist from young man to superstar. And it's hard to imagine anyone
who visits the site putting on a better show, this or any other year...
From the moment Petty and
company launched into the first song, "Jammin' Me," he commanded the
audience's attention. Not through force of pyrotechnics or stage props
(although the Middle Eastern motif, replete with pillows, candelabra,
incense-spewing lanterns and a suit of armor was charming).
No, Petty's magic potion was a
set list of music, brilliant in its simplicity. Songs such as "Runnin'
Down A Dream" and "Don't Come Around Here No More" are gems that resonated
with the audience ... because they have no pretense, no illusions of being
anything more than rock 'n' roll...
... It was Petty's songs from the 1990's that cut a
deep, psychic swathe through the night. "Swingin'" ... from Echo is a nostalgic look at Petty's youth... The
menacing message of folkish "Mary Jane" and even the extended, excessive
coda of "It's Good To Be King" -- which featured guitarist Mike Campbell
wailing away on a double-neck guitar -- these were special moments that
transcended the genre.
Petty's band -- bassist Howie Epstein, keyboardist
Benmont Tench and newcomers Steve Ferrone on drums and guitarist Scott
Thurston -- provided the perfect accompaniment to a man who has travelled
many roads over the years. With shows as magnificent as last evening's, we
can only hope he will be around for another 25 years."
Behe, Tribune-Review, June 26, 1999
June 18, 1999
Pine Knob Music Theatre - Clarkston, Michigan
"... For the Heartbreakers, it's less about flash than
vibe, and the real magic Friday was found in the natural ensemble effort,
shining on the crunch of opening tune "Jammin' Me," the friskiness of "You
Don't Know How it Feels" and the stoned groove of "Mary Jane's Last
are five guys who could lock into a groove if you plopped each of them in
a hotel room in five different cities. Put them on the same stage Friday,
and you got tight, sizzling extended jams on rockers like "Don't Come
Around Here No More" and "It's Good to Be King," two of the night's top
renderings, with Petty and Campbell trading hot guitar licks as the band
Brian McCollum, Detroit
Free Press, June 19, 1999
June 16, 1999
Gund Arena -
Petty and the Heartbreakers, flexing their muscles after some four years
off the road, worked an adoring audience at the Gund Arena with a
repertoire old and new last night.
On the second date of a five-month tour, Petty and his
startingly versatile, powerful band delved into tunes ancient, fresh (the
magnigicent "Swingin'") and unexpected (a phenomenal, extended
configuration of "It's Good To Be King")...
If the tunes were astonishing, so was the stage
setting. Think of it as the Good Ship Petty, with Petty the paisley pirate
captain of his motley, elegantly musical crew.
There was Campbell, double-necked guitar natural and
gimmick-free on "King"; there was Tench, playing furious rockabilly
flourishes on "Running Down the Dream" ["Runnin' Down A Dream"].
Above all, there was Petty,
rock-star confident, working the crowd with postures and passion in tunes
such as "Indiana Girl" ["Mary Jane's Last Dance"], a lovely, acoustic "I
Won't Back Down," and a raging "Rhino Skin."
Petty ... and his band surfaced in 1976 ... More than
two decades later, he is still infusing a genre with fresh life that has
been all too flaccid lately. And he is backing his albums with strong
performances. Last night's was no exception."
Carlo Wolff, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 17, 1999
June 14, 1999
Opening Night Of Echo Tour
Andel Arena - Grand Rapids, Michigan
"That engaging Tom Petty smile.
The first one Monday night
came during his first guitar solo, about midway through the first song of
the first concert of his 1999 North American tour and his first-ever show
in Grand Rapids...
time the long and memorable evening at Van Andel Arena ended, some 2 1/2
hours and two dozen songs later, Petty would flash that grin a lot -- a
whole lot -- making it obvious that he's pretty darned happy to be back on
the road after a four-year break.
So happy, in fact, that Petty and the Heartbreakers'
performance of such classics as "Breakdown" and "American Girl" ... which
they've played and played again for 23 years, sounded as fresh and
passionate as ever, eliciting near-spontaneous karaoke participation from
a convivial, sold-out crowd of about 11,600...
Ah, those Petty smiles...
There was the shy smile at the end of an unusual
acoustic version of "I Won't Back Down," the man-ain't-we-jamming-now
smiles on several songs; the theatrical, rock-star smirks on a
thunderously cool rendition of "Don't Come Around Here No More," the
satisfied smiles after "You Wreck Me," and the devilish ones during his
midsong rap on a brilliant cover of "Gloria" during the encore...
It was all played out on a
marvelously eye-catching and psychedelic stage replete with smoking
Moroccan chandeliers, Persian rugs, old-style red theater curtains and
dozens of candles and plush pillows.
The set, designed by longtime Petty lighting and set
wizard Jim Lenahan, featured multicolored triangular canopies that
constantly unfurled and changed color like giant computer-controlled
complemented that distinctive, Byrds-influenced Petty sound which band
members [Mike] Campbell, bass player Howie Epstein, keyboard player
Benmont Tench, drummer Steve Ferrone and guitarist Scott Thurston wear as
comfortably as an old slipper...
"You've made our trip very memorable tonight," Petty
said, as the standing-O cheers cascaded down onto the stage just before
the encore began. "Wow. I wish we could stay all week."
Know what, Tom? So did all
those smiling fans."
John Sinkevics, The Grand
Rapids Press, June 15, 1999
(Click here to see more News in the