Monday, June 23, 2008

The Waiting

Wow, an actual video the UniversalNoMusicGroupForYou hasn't prevented from being embedded. Guess I'll have to buy the albums now like I have been and plan to. Assholes. Anyway...

-- was indeed the hardest part. But on Sunday evening, Tom Petty, a real rock god -- I've got to stop linking each post to the previous one lest this blogging thing become actual work -- and his band of merry pranksters rocked and/or rolled Northeast Ohio and yours truly, along with my not-always-better-but-always-better-looking-half, was there in addition to other yokels (including a non-blogger! They do exist!) from these parts.

The Good: Opener Steve Winwood was in fine form, belting out classics from his long career, mixed in with tracks off of his new album, Nine Lives. Unsurprisingly, Higher Love and set closer Gimme Some Lovin' received the loudest plaudits from the crowd, but the unquestioned highlight for me was an absolutely molten version of Dear Mr. Fantasy that dripped with bluesy chords and raw guitar power.

The men of the hour charged out with a rollicking You Wreck Me, followed by one masterclass in songwriting after another: the wonderful pop of I Won't Back Down and The Waiting, the turbocharged blues romp of Honey Bee, the jangly Traveling Wilburys' gem End of the Line, the psychedelic Don't Come Around Here No More, whose whimsical menace benefits from a more organic live setting, the anthemic Refugee which, though a classic on record, becomes an unbreakable monster in the flesh. Petty and his band were in top form, shaded by a Zeppelin-esque tight-but-loose vibe that filtered through the Campbell/Petty/Tench (an underrated musician if ever there was one) duels that finished tracks such as Mary Jane's Last Dance, Runnin' Down a Dream and Saving Grace, which morphed from a propulsive, three-minute driving song into a thunderous, six-minute highway jam. This band can flat out fucking rock with the best of them.

One final note on the professionalism of the gig: the show started at 7h30, Winwood played an hour, his gear was cleared out without hassle, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers came out shortly after 9h. Given my personal experience at Blossom Music Center of molasses-in-the-dead-of-winter logistics, this was a nice change of pace.

The Bad: Speaking of changes of pace, 30 or 45 minutes tops is what it has taken in the past to exit that directionless, grassy parking lot. Last night, it took around 90 minutes, a good 80% of that consisting of cars not moving in every conceivable direction. Next time, I'll just bring some lawn chairs and grill some burgers after the show. Fucking jokers. And make sure the lawn chairs don't extend past a certain size as the helpful rent-a-cop made sure to let the concertgoers know.

The Ugly: Morons buying a ten dollar can of beer. People, purchase an easily-hid flask -- they only check your bags -- and fill it with some of the good stuff. Ugliest of all -- well that one chick was certainly easy on the eyes -- the obviously ecstasy-laden row of clowns in front of us. I've seen dancing at rock shows before, both joyful and sultry, but I've never seen club-worthy grinding and partner-swapping going on virtually the entire show with the actual music a mere soundtrack afterthought. A beautifully sad yet wistful Learning To Fly gets you all hot and bothered? Or the dark Americana of Mary Jane's Last Dance? Honey Bee, I could understand. It was fucking bizarre, believe me. And short little dude worthy of a spot on Hot Chicks With Douchebags, what was with your histrionic, air traffic controller hand signals at every. single. line. sung by Petty? Oh, well, it wasn't my money.

Overtime: I remember reading on some sports blog back in January a number of complaints about the NFL having chosen Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for the Super Bowl halftime show, most variations on the theme of 'they're too old.' Hey, young people, they are pushing 60, but they'll still rock your millennial punk ass. I witnessed two hours of undeniable proof last night.


Oscar said...


DCup said...

Lucky duck.

Those dancing fools remind me of an R.E.M. show we saw back in 1989 in Cincinnati. At the Coliseum, I think. The idiots around us talked through the old tunes (So. Central Rain, etc.) and sung along to the new songs off Green. I wished I'd had a long poking stick.

Unconventional Conventionist said...

Millenial Punk Asses. [smacks head]

That's what I have WANTED to call them all this time.

Anyway, that sounds like a great concert.

Christopher said...

I wanna glide down over Mulholland
I wanna write her name in the sky
Gonna free fall out into nothing
Gonna leave this world for a while

Fuck, this makes me homesick.

okjimm said...

Hey, sounds like a great show!

I saw Tom Petty.... a long time ago....when I had more tolerance for getting through parking lots....taking out a mortgage for tickets....the

// obviously ecstasy-laden row of clowns in front of us. //

(the idiot drug of choice then was qualudes mixed with Ripple)...these days I can only tolerant smaller venues....

But, shit&whiskers...sounds like it was a GREAT time!!

DivaJood said...

(the idiot drug of choice then was qualudes mixed with Ripple)...

And what is wrong with a six-pack of Ripple? Don't answer that, okjimm. It was a rhetorical question.

As for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers being "too old" - listen, if 80 is the new 50, those of us who are Boomers (i.e. pushing 60) will NEVER get old. Those post-millenial punks would not be around if it weren't for us pushing the barriers down and stomping on 'em.

And Ray Davies of the Kinks, who's birthday was Saturday, still has the best legs in Rock & Roll. Trust me on this.

Liberality said...

That sounds like one hell of a good concert, in spite of parking hassels and dancing idiots. Sorry I missed it. I'd be jamming to Low Spark too.

Utah Savage said...

Are you telling me you aren't making big buckage writing music reviews for Rolling Stone? Motherfucker! I'm not a fan of rock concerts but you made me wish I were, for about ten seconds. Could be a lifetime at my age. Last concert I went to was Eric Clapton on his last tour--oddly they came to Salt Lake. Go figure.

Dean Wormer said...

First concert I ever saw was Tom Petty. We had 6th row seats and I got this weird idea that every concert you went to you could actually see the face of the band in question.

Sounds like a great show.

Tom Harper said...

As much as I like Tom Petty, I can't imagine Steve Winwood being the opening act for anybody. True, he hasn't done much in the last few decades, and I never cared much for his solo stuff. But Traffic and Blind Faith -- his vocal style is unsurpassed.

I like most of Tom Petty's songs, but my favorite songs of his weren't hits at all: Night Watchman and Quit Jammin' Me.

Sounds like it was a great show.

susan said...

Oops, comment that disappeared.. I hate that.

Anyway, it's a great review and I'm glad you can still do that the next day on three hours sleep, work, kids and all.

I saw Stevie Winwood with the Spencer Davis group playing at the Cheltenham Caves in the south of England when he was 16 (me? 18). Those were the days..

ps - Divajood, I agree with you about Ray Davies. Yow!

okjimm said...

Fuck!!!! You SAW the Spencer Davis Group!!!!!

That is right on up there with giving Jesus spare change for the subway......

American Hill BIlly said...

Ha!! The exit time was probably Bush targeting YOU specifically, or just him taking a night of to target the fucking crowd. God I wished I owned the nearest gas station to that joint!

Peace and Freedom

Hill said...

Sometimes the sideshow is almost as entertaining as the actual band you paid to see.

Been there, done that on the stuck in the parking lot thingie. Cars NOT moving in any direction for almost 2 hours.

Spent virtually the entire 2 hours watching the various peeps either run from their cars into the nearby woods and/or down on all 4's arfing up their beer.



Randal Graves said...

oscar, it certainly was.

dcup, ah, that's the worst, the damn mainstream fans. Where were you in 1982, whipper snappers? I remember seeing Metallica on the black album tour and how old I suddenly felt with all these young'uns singing along to Enter Sandman, but lost when they brought out Seek and Destroy.

UC, see, these bastards don't know how good they've got it. I remember a time before the internets and all that downloading hackery. Where's my Geritol?

christopher, few things are as strong as music for churning that stuff up.

okjimm, hell, I almost shit a brick when I saw that t-shirts were going for $40. Next time, just sell a kidney. You have two of 'em!

diva, that mentality is human nature, unfortunately. "All the old stuff sucks!" There's always good music, you just have to find it. If I may permit myself a curmudgeony moment, I will say that what actually sells these days overall seems to be much lower in quality than ever before.

liberality, luckily, it was loud enough to drown out the dumbassery.

utah, hey, if you know Jann personally, put in a good word for me, huh? "I know this mediocre hack, he'd be perfect for your crappy magazine!"

You should go to rock shows, they're quite rejuvenating.

dean, our seats weren't that bad so we could at least make the band out. Plus, if you were on the lawn, they had large screens on either side of the stage. Not that I wouldn't have minded 6th row but I shudder to think how much those would've been.

tom, it was kind of odd having such a legendary performer whose best work predated TP+H opening up for them, but he was definitely good.

I'm often the same way, a lot of those 'album' tracks that never see the light of commercial day are stellar. Jammin' Me is a great track.

susan, sacrifices are required when the call to rocking out must be answered.

That's the problem with being my age, I'll have missed out on a lot of the bands I would have loved to see.

okjimm, what the hell are you talking about? Everyone knows Jesus is Republican!

AHB, heh heh, there's a way to make a killing. Not literally, George!

hill, we were blessed with watching goobers shooting off fireworks. Nothing beats the stench of those wafting into the car. It had rained on and off all day, but surprisingly, we only noticed one car stuck in the mud.

susan said...

Hah! I'm so old the first paintings I did were in the Cheltenham Caves after I helped my Neandertal boyfriends carve them of of the naked rock. Ahh! naked rock - now that brings back some memories..

Randal Graves said...

Babes of the Neolithic calendar?

Dean Wormer said...


It was 30 years ago. We didn't pay all that much for the seats.

Whippersnappers had it so good back then.

Randal Graves said...

Didn't pay much for gas, either. My, how things have changed.

Angie said...

Jealous over here! Saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in '89 or '90 (can't remember- all the strobe lights interefered with my long term memory). Loved that show. I always tell the hubby I'm too old for concerts anymore, but I'd go to see them again!

Randal Graves said...

One is never too old for rocking and rolling!

Dr. Zaius said...

Oh yeah?

Randal Graves said...

You know John Sidney gets down after Cindy The Beer Robot sends him there without any supper.