Photos/Review by Thomas S. Orwat, Jr.
Darien, NY- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers returned to the Darien Lake P.A.C. for their second concert in two weeks. The first concert, on Aug 14 was completely sold out, so an additional show was added. Although this particular performance wasn’t a sellout, there was still a great turn-out of approximately 10,000 fans enjoying a beautiful summer evening. With the concert industry struggling like it has been over the last few months, this was a great testimony to the popularity of Tom Petty and for his reputation of putting on an amazing live show. The 59 year old singer/songwriter/guitarist and Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee is more popular now than ever before and not just in the WNY area. Petty now appeals to generations of Rock fans who seem to really appreciate the brilliance of his music. And Petty and the Heartbreakers are are by no means resting on past laurels, their most recent release ‘Mojo’ has the band playing some of the most stripped down, raw and inspired music of their career.
Petty opened the show with “Listen to Her Heart” which is a track from his 1978 record ‘You’re Gonna Get It!.‘ Next up was “You Don’t Know How it Feels” and “I Won’t Back Down” followed. Petty and the band were in fine form, with Petty smiling many times during the performance. Petty & the Heartbreakers certainly have great chemistry together. Add a responsive audience to the mix and you have the making of a very memorable night. In addition, Petty and company had a great stage show that enhanced the concert experience, without being over the top with bombastic excess. It all translates to a soul cleansing journey that transcend everyday worries.
The forth song of the evening was fan favorite “Free Falling” followed by a rockin’ version of the Fleetwood Mac track “Oh, Well.” Petty has so many hits in his repertoire that was a bit surprising that he would consider doing a cover song, neverless it was interesting to hear his take on this classic.
Petty was in the zone for a mesmerizing, extended version of “Breakdown.” The interplay between Petty and long time Heartbreaker lead guitarist Mike Campbell was brilliant. The band then proceed with four tracks from the ‘Mojo’ CD, “Jefferson Jericho Blues,”Good Enough,” “Running Man’s Bible” and “I Should Have Known It.” The new tracks came across great live, they are a little more progressive and in more of a jam band style. Although most in the audience enjoyed this portion of the show, some of the more casual fans took this time to proceed to the restrooms and concession stands. Those who stayed witness the band at its finest.
Petty & The Heartbreakers concluded the show with a string of their major hits which included: “Learning to Fly,” “Don’t Come Around Here No,” “Refugee” and an encore of “American Girl” capped off this fantastic evening.