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tom petty & the heartbreakers at red rocks!

June 7, 2010

Tom Petty at Red Rocks - Sidestage“Let’s make the loudest noise Red Rocks has ever heard!” When Tom Petty asks – the crowd obeys. Standing on the side of the stage as the house lights come up to reveal 9,500 screaming fans raining adoration down on the band, I have a split second flash of what it must be like to be Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. I’m fairly certain that at this precise moment I am the luckiest girl in the entire world.

How I got to the side of the stage is a story that I will save for my memoirs… but there I was – the final notes of “You Wreck Me” hanging on the air before Tom and the boys launched into “American Girl” to end the night.

I’ve seen Tom Petty several times, and they are consistently one of the most best live acts around – totally in sync with each other, turning out one solid performance after another. If you haven’t yet bought tickets to catch them somewhere on this quickly-selling out tour I strongly suggest you do. Especially since you have the chance to hear live performances of some of the great tracks off the forthcoming Mojo album.

My dear friend and I (who have what you might call something of a history with Tom Petty concerts…) made the last minute decision to fly to Denver for Thursday’s show, the second of the tour. After meeting at the Denver airport on Thursday afternoon we drove straight to Red Rocks, whose breathtaking beauty and auditory splendor is rivaled only by the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington state. The weather was perfect and the crowd was pumped, it was going to be a good night…

Red Rocks Amphitheater

Not a bad place to hear some music....

The legendary Joe Cocker opened the show, playing several songs from his stable of classics as the sun slipped behind the Rocky Mountains. I especially loved his ever-sultry “You Can Leave Your Hat On” and he closed with a killer version of “With a Little Help From My Friends.” I had just watched his explosive Woodstock performance recently and let me tell you, 40 years later – the man’s still got it.

After the break Tom came out and kicked their show off with one of my personal favorite Heartbreakers’ tunes “King’s Highway.” I hadn’t heard them play that one live before so it was a real treat. The first half of the show was a sampler platter from their epically deep bench of hit songs. A bluesy, hard-hitting Mike Campbell stole the show in the second half, which was mostly devoted to Mojo material and featured a couple amazing solos. Personally, I’d like to see him go off the path even further with the Mojo songs, he’s such an underrated guitar player and it’s great to see him really strutting his stuff. After playing a good portion of the new album they closed the main set out with a trio of classics – “Learning to Fly,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” and “Refugee” before delivering their three-song encore. Needless to say, the crowd went wild.

The show was fantastic, the energy was amazing, and it’s wonderful to hear so many new songs in their set. Not since 2006 when Highway Companion was released have we heard this much new material at a Heartbreakers show. Now there’s nothing left to do but wait until Mojo drops on June 15th, oh and then go to the Philadelphia, Dallas, and Houston shows that I have now also added to my summer itinerary…. ;)

Tom Petty at Red Rocks 6/3/10


Kings Highway” one of my all-time favorites as the very first song??? Yes please.

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