Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Oklahoma City, April 19th; Jazz Fest, New Orleans, April 30th; Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, Queens, New York, July 27th
I knew, from an interview I did with Petty announcing his 40th-anniversary tour, that his 2017 shows with the Heartbreakers would likely be his last run of that major cross-country kind. No one thought it would be the end of the road. In the aftermath of Petty's death, at 66 on October 2nd, one week after finishing the tour in Los Angeles, I have counted myself lucky that I caught three shows in very different circumstances. There was opening night in Oklahoma City with two great songs of recent vintage ("American Dream Plan B" from 2014's Hypnotic Eye; "Something Good Coming" from 2010's Mojo) that quickly disappeared from the set to give the hits room to breathe; Petty's cheerful defiance of the monsoon that nearly shut down his headlining day at Jazz Fest; and the second of his two nights in New York, where the improvising quadrants in "Don't Come Around Here No More" and "It's Good to Be King" were technicolor testament to the unbroken empathy in Petty's lifelong ride with the Heartbreakers. It came to a sudden, shocking halt; I'm grateful for all that I got in the time that was left.