Review Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Steve Winwood Gary Graff, Detroit
Shortly after finishing Mary Jane's Last Dance," Tom Petty told a stoked Saturday night crowd in suburban Detroit that We're gonna have a good time tonight, I promise you."
He did not lie.
The second show of Petty and his Heartbreakers' summer North American tour, with Steve Winwood opening, was the kind of display fans have come to expect during the past three-plus decades. It was an hour and 45 minutes of spirited and timeless rock, tightly -- and energetically -- rendered with the knowing care of veterans who are seasoned but not grizzled, and certainly not blase. There's was a well-studied ebb-and-flow to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers' set, but it was complemented by a genuine exuberance and a sense of mild surprise that they're still able to play rock 'n' roll to a mostly full arena at this point of their lives.
It's noteworthy that Petty and company don't have anything to sell with this outing -- unless you count the Mudcrutch album by Petty, guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench's previous band, and the Heartbreakers aren't touching any of that material. The fact that the sextet is out this summer to play for the fun (and, of course, profit) of it liberated the show from certain expected standards of promotion.
Petty definitely knows how to please a crowd. Sporting a velvet jacket, with video screens above and behind the stage and video cubes hanging from the lighting rig, he brought the Heartbreakers out rocking with You Wreck Me," Mary Jane's Last Dance" and a pairing of the defiant anthems I Won't Back Down" and Even the Losers." The career-spanning 17-song set reached from 1977's American Girl" to Saving Grace" from Petty's 2006 solo album. In fact, eight selections came from his three sans-Heartbreakers releases.
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