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gig grab bag: tom petty – willin’

February 21, 2015

gig grab bag logoIn an effort to return to consistent posting here on that mercury sound I’m resurrecting the formerly dormant Gig Grab Bag series. The goal here will be to highlight songs and performances that are particularly captivating as I come across them. I’ve been meaning to post this installment for awhile and finally, on this snowy Colorado day, I’m getting around to it.

I saw Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers at Red Rocks back in October. It was the last night of a three-night run at the storied venue and the band was in fine form. The first night had been freezing cold, the second pouring rain, and finally this one was just a perfect crisp October evening. The musical highlight of the concert, and a number that only appeared on this final night, was a cover of Little Feat’s road-weary anthem “Willin.” The Lowell George ballad has been covered by everyone from The Byrds to Linda Ronstadt to country duo Brooks & Dunn, but Tom’s version is the best I’ve heard. As he did with his ’06 Bonnaroo rendition of “Learning to Fly” he brings a certain nuance to the song, softening the edges with the kind of knowing that only the passage of time can bring. In a cosmic gift from the universe some wonderful soul filmed and posted a video of the actual performance from that night at Red Rocks. If they’d panned a little further past Benmont you actually probably could have seen my best friend and I on the side of the stage, but that’s another story…. Here’s the video, I hope you enjoy it as much I did. Cheers.

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