Written by Eddie Ferranti
Jul 30, 2006 at 08:00 PM
ImageDuring thee encore of Tom Petty’s sold out show in Auburn, Washington July 30th he admonished the crowd that he hoped to give them “just a moment” where everything was “alright”. Well, he gave us all more than that. He gave us an entire evening that was more than alright! If this is indeed the last major go round for Tom & his killer band, what a send off! Wow.

Where do I start about this gig?!

From the opening chords of “Listen to her Heart” it was on. This band delivers a clean crisp performance every time out. I still remember the first time I caught them in the mid 70’s on the “Damn the Torpedos” tour in Pittsburgh’s Stanley Theater. I knew they were going to be “somebody” and I never stopped following them! If this band was any tighter they would crack.

“You don’t know how it Feels” was followed by a self explanatory “I Won’t Back Down”. That has defined Mr. Petty’s whole career. I applaud his efforts to keep prices down on his gigs and CD’s. In a time when everyone is trying to make big bucks, Petty is STILL about the music. “The Last DJ” was his statement against what has happened in the music biz. He knew he’d catch hell for it and he did from from critics.
Did he care?! No.

He has been a survivor all his life and he’s made it thru a broken hand, bad fire to his home , a divorce, plus the loss of a original band mate to a drug overdose…….”Free Fallin'” was next followed by a new cut from Highway Companion “Saving Grace”. A very cool tune which has a “Spirit in the Sky” feel to it. Tom then paid tribute to his roots with a double shot of Yardbirds, “I’m a Man” and “Oh Well”. Mike Campbell excelled at this juncture, although he ALWAYS excells!

This is where the gig just turned it up a notch. Petty said: “We’d like to bring on an honorary Heartbreaker, Miss Stevie Nicks!” They did a killer “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” followed by Ms. Nicks scorching version of “I Need to Know”!!! The place was all greased up and sweating with ROCK and then TP dropped a haymaker saying: “I love the song “The Waiting”, but I like it so much better when my pal Eddie does it!”

ImageOut walks Eddie Vedder and the place went ape shit!! He proceeded to tear thru the tune with a vengeance, Pearl Jam style if you will. Goosebump city baby! The set turned down a bit for “Square One”, “Insider” and “Learning to Fly”. The crowd got to catch their breath a bit.  But once the opening acid soaked chords of “Don’t Come Around Here No More” cranked out it was all over but the crying for this crowd!!! No mercy at all.

If these folks had not noticed Mr. Campbell’s prescence so far, it was on display throughout MASH IN YOUR FACE renditions of “Refugee” and incredible “Running Down a Dream”!!!  Man that dude B-BQ’ed the faces of a sold out crowd all the way to the top of the hill! Yikes is thee best word to explain the flurry he jammed out. As Tom himself said, Mike Campbell is my teacher and my co-captain. I’ve seen a bunch of bands in my life, but never have  I seen such an unselfish performer like Mike Campbell. All he does is fade the heat and play his ass off.

The 3 song encore of “You Wreck Me”, “Mystic Eyes” (Killer whisper yells by TP on this one-great effect!) and scorching “American Girl” were great ending to a super night. Eddie Vedder came back to do lead, which he started out with “Oh I Fucked UP!” Petty grinned and they started over and EV nailed it big time! Stevie banged on a tamborine with Eddie! All in all it was one of thee best gigs I’ve ever been associated with. Bands that are around this long can take time off and do stupid ass sing alongs, but not this one.

Fans were singing every word, but so was TP. Nights like these don’t come around often, but this reviewer will be in H-Town 8/5 to see it all again…………..God Bless Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers!