I was introduced to the music of Tom Petty through my dad, as a child. My dad’s collection of classic rock CD-ROMs (that he burned himself) are constantly replayed over his old stereo. Despite the stereo being over 20 years old, he maintains that it cannot be replaced and the absence of an AUX cord is irrelevant. Anyway, Tom Petty was one of the artists that I heard a lot but did not necessarily listen to on my own.
My brother Matt, on the other hand, is very into Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. Last December, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers announced a 40th Anniversary Tour. After scanning the list of tour dates for one in the tri-state area, he saw there was one in Newark, NJ. Knowing Tom Petty was going to be just an hour away, he was determined to see this show.
My dad said he would try to get us tickets, knowing the fact that our music taste (1960s-1980s classic rock) would not give us the rest of our lives to see who we wanted to see. He was able to buy tickets from a friend, and I immediately went to work. With recommendations from Matt, I began to listen to all of the Tom Petty I could in the next few months. I was amazed at how many songs I already knew, or songs that sounded familiar. Every song seemed strong enough to be released as a single. I was amazing at just how GOOD every song was. Even with The Beatles, my favorite band, there are one or two songs I am not a fan of. With Tom Petty, I was not able to find one.
On June 16th, 2017 we went to the Tom Petty concert. From the beginning to the end, I was entertained. I arrived as a basic fan of Tom Petty. I left as someone who had just seen the best concert of her life.
Tom Petty performed with heart, and soul. The technical vocal performance was what stood out to me the most. Despite Tom Petty being obviously older than when he recorded his songs, the quality of his voice did not waver. I felt as though I could close my eyes, and feel as though I was listening to the songs post production. He was that good.
My favorite parts of the concert was when he performed “Wildflowers”, and “I Won’t Back Down”. “Wildflowers” is my favorite Petty song, and the entire crowd singing along to “”I Won’t Back Down” was mesmerizing.
On October 2nd, Tom Petty went through cardiac arrest and was hospitalized at UCLA. Hours later, he passed away in the presence of family and bandmates. I am grateful that I was able to see him perform, because “I have seen no other, who compares with” him.