My Tom Petty Concert Review

I have been a HUGE Tom Petty fan ever since I got my hands on a "Full Moon Fever" "tape" back in '89. So when I had the chance to get some tickets back in January for his Charlotte show I didn't think twice about it. It has been at least 6 years since I last attended a 'secular" concert. (James Taylor '02) Not that I have anything against secular music or concerts, there just haven't been any I was willing to shell out $50+ a ticket for. Until now.

When we arrived at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Charlotte the place looked more like the parking lot to a Panthers game with all the tailgating that was going on. A nice surprise was they didn't charge for parking. I guess they figured that after sticking you with $16 in service charges per tickets it was the least they could do. After parking and making our way through the sea of pre-concert partiers, we found our seats. We sat in the last section of seat in front of the lawn center stage.

The show began at 7:15pm with Steve Winwood was the opening act. I didn't even know he was still singing. The only song he sang that Beth and I knew was his 80's hit "Higher Love". That must of been the only song most folks knew because it got the loudest pop and most applause.

Finally at 9:00pm Tom came out to a thunderous roar. I told Beth I bet everyone would stand for the whole 120 minutes of music and they did. I didn't see anyone sit down the entire time the Heartbreakers were preforming. The show was sold out and Tom seemed genuinely thankful and gracious of the cheers he kept receiving. She didn't talk much during the show except to say thank you several times at the fanatical crowd, the occasional intro into a song, and then the band intros.

I've been to what seems like a million concerts (years of working at the Greensboro Coliseum helped that number) and I have seen some of the biggest rock bands ever, but no one, and I mean no one can top what we saw/heard on Friday. That concert was the best I have ever been to. Tom Petty (to quote the drunk guy behind us) "is a rock god". They played for over 2 hours straight and as Tom put it, "had a lot of songs to sing and he wanted to squeeze them all in". I think he finished with 19 songs in the set list. I was disappointed they didn't sing "The Waiting" which is my favorite "old school" Petty song. But as a bonus he sang "Face in the crowd" off Full Moon Fever which he admitted they hardly ever sang. (looking at the set list for the tour so far it looks like that was the first time they sang it all summer) Tom and the Heartbreakers were just as hard of working as I'm sure they were 30 years ago, if not harder. The sound was amazing and they were some of if not the best musicians I have ever seen.

It was also cool to see the wide range in ages that the concert attracted. From the old burned out rockers beside of us to two high school girls in front of us, Tom Petty truly spans every generation. Even through the stinch of BO, beer, and pot his fans remained friendly. In fact the guy beside Beth offered to let us use his binoculars and the guy behind us offered us a sip of whiskey from his flask.

Amazing night. 4 stars. Best show ever. I was tempted to drive to Raleigh to see him again on Saturday night.

Set List for Charlotte:
1. You Wreck Me
2. Listen To Her Heart
3. I Won't Back Down
4. Even The Losers
5. Free Fallin
6. Mary Jane's Last Dance
7. Cabin Down Below
8. End Of The Line
9. Breakdown
10. Saving Grace
11. A Face In The Crowd
12. Honey Bee
13. You Don't Know How It Feels
14. Learning To Fly
15. Don't Come Around Here No More
16. Refugee
17. Runnin' Down A Dream
18. Mystic Eyes
19. American Girl


Joel Smith said…
My burning question: Did you take a shot of the whiskey?
Mike G. said…
Being a life long teetotaler, I decided to pass.

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