Only a few bands can lay claim to longevity and consistency throughout their careers. Bands such as U2, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith have all had long and successful careers with core members that have laid the foundation for many other bands. Then we have Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers who are currently celebrating 40 years of being a band. Not a small feat considering the ever changing landscape and challenges of bands today. For Petty who by the way played back to back sold out shows at Red Rocks this week (their 18th time playing the majestic venue), change has never been much of a challenge. Tuesday nights show was a touring rendition of every major hit the band has recorded. Wearing his customary beard and adorned in cowhide fringe Petty and company managed to entertain the 9,000 plus in attendance with hit after hit after hit. It was clear judging by the crowds participation that their catalog extends far and wide.
The little band from Gainesville, Florida came up from humble beginnings back in 1976 to become one of the most iconic bands in the world today. Seeing them play in a historic venue such as Red Rocks adds a heightened sense of mystique along the way. Flanked by guitarist Mike Campbell and bassist Ron Blair the band reached from their vast amount of decades worth of hits to entertain the crowd for a solid two hours. The 21 song setlist started with "Rockin' Around (With You)" from their 1976 self titled debut, followed by the commercialy successful "Mary Jane's Last Dance", whose lyrics couldn't have been more proper for our weed loving state. The band played all the notable sing-alongs (too many to name) with the same passion that they originally recorded them in.
The crowd was definitely favoring the older generation who would probably put them right around my parents age, at one point I even pondered if any of these songs were ones that may have sparked that twinkle in my parents eyes if you know what I mean. Rest assured Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers played an exceptional two nights that was worth every penny and more (scalpers were asking for almost $400 a ticket) to the tune of 9,000 plus in attendance each night. I hadn't seen Petty since 2008 and can safely say that this time was more magical. Opening the night was the quirky ex-member of The Eagles Joe Walsh who entertained the crowd with playful jabs in between his own setlist of classics including "Take It To The Limit" and "Rocky Mountain Way", which seemed fitting amongst those in attendance that managed to partake in smoking of the Devil's Lettuce.
-Words and Images Robert Castr