When it comes to live stuff from Tom Petty, there's certainly a good amount of officially available material to choose from. The Live Anthology in particular should be at the top of your list if you don't own it, both for value and because of what's on it.
Going further back, the Pack Up The Plantation live release is one of my personal favorites, crying out for both an expanded edition and an official DVD/Blu-ray release of the companion live video. That's a legacy edition that I'd buy for sure.
But you know what else would be great? An official bootleg series from Mr. Petty. Imagine the possibilities....finally being able to get your hands on some of the really cool shows that they've done, like the '97 run at the Fillmore. Mudcrutch club shows? You name it, we'd buy it.
It would be a nice outlet for purchasing the current stretch of special shows that Petty & the Heartbreakers have been playing. Starting at the Beacon in NYC and zagging over to Los Angeles for the in-progress set of gigs at the Fonda Theatre (which will wrap up tonight), the focus has been on the deeper side of Petty's catalog.
That brings us around to this particular audio snapshot, recorded on June 3rd at the Fonda.
After opening with a relatively safe double shot of "So You Want To Be A Rock 'n Roll Star" and (the always welcome) "Love Is A Long Road" Petty took a moment to greet the Los Angeles crowd and set up the night, telling them "you know, we're doing mostly album tracks tonight." Finishing off the opening moments with a rendition of the tried and true Full Moon Fever favorite "I Won't Back Down," Petty would stick to his word for the majority of the set, pulling out a selection of lesser heard cuts, including "Fooled Again (I Don't Like It)," "To Find A Friend" from Wildflowers and a freshly reworked version of "Rebels."
Petty continues to remember the Wilburys side of his career, choosing Dylan's "Tweeter & The Monkey Man" as his Wilbury cut to dust off for this year's tour. The mere mention of the Echo album (released in '99) brought cheers from the audience, which led Petty to quip "we've got the hardcore here tonight, don't we?" He explained the relative absence of Echo album tracks from previous setlists saying that "I've made a lot of trips to the psychiatrist's couch talking about why we don't play anything from Echo very much." (For the unfamiliar, Petty was going through a divorce at the time that the album was made and reportedly, he avoids material from that album and time period for that reason, because of the painful memories associated with the material.) Hearing "Billy The Kid" from that album is a quick reminder of how underrated that Echo album is and it's good to see that Petty has perhaps been able to move past the hard memories previously associated with the songs on that release.
Clocking in at about two hours, the Fonda gig exposes that even when you spend that length of time exploring a good portion of the deep cuts that are in the Petty catalog, there are still so many more that you can think of that weren't played. Some of them, like "Two Gunslingers" from Into The Great Wide Open, for example, have surfaced in the setlists of the other shows.
It seems like the regular tour dates will play things a bit more safe, focusing on the "hits" that the arena and shed crowds have come to expect, but with Petty, it's a strong bet that some of the rarities currently being aired in the smaller venue shows will find their way into the regular setlists. As a bonus, for a handful of dates this summer, Petty & The Heartbreakers will be joined by longtime ATV faves The Smithereens, who have been handpicked to open a series of shows starting in Noblesville, Indiana this coming weekend.
This show is the perfect tuneup to get you ready for those summer shows from Petty & crew and as you'll hear, they're still going at it full throttle.
Anything that's rock and roll....
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Live at the Fonda Theatre
02 So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star
03 Love Is a Long Road
04 I Won't Back Down
05 Fooled Again (I Don't Like It)
06 Cabin Down Below
07 Good Enough
08 (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
09 A Woman in Love (It's Not Me)
10 Billy the Kid
11 -band intros-
12 Tweeter and the Monkey Man
14 To Find a Friend
15 Angel Dream
18 I Should Have Known It
20 Runnin' Down a Dream
21 You Wreck Me
22 American Girl