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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 18, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 33
After 40 years together, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are among rock's very best and still going strong
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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After 40 years together, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are among rock's very best and still going strong

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

TOM PETTY
AND THE HEARTBREAKERS
40TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR
SAFECO FIELD
August 19


My introduction to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers coincided with perfect timing; I was miserable. My family moved from a small city to a rural, farm town about 200 miles away, where I spent many days riding my bike around desperately trying to find other kids my age to play with. Fortunately, we only lived there for just over a year and then moved back home, but those fifteen months were absolutely miserable.

But one day my older brother came home with a stack of albums that he'd bought with his own money from doing yard work and cheered me the hell up. Among them was Damn the Torpedoes and it was love at first listen, I was hooked the very second that record player needle landed on the leadoff track, 'Refugee.' Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were, and still are, that kind of band you want to keep listening to over and over again. If you love rock music, it doesn't get any better than this. And they're as All-American as you can get, right up there with baseball and apple pie.

You might not believe - and I certainly cannot - that this legendary band has been going strong for 40 years. In fact, the Florida-founded act's North American tour is commemorating this milestone with fans, who pretty much buy every ticket to every show they perform. They come to hear the classics, such as 'Free Fallin',' 'The Waiting,' 'Learning to Fly,' 'Runnin' Down a Dream,' 'I Won't Back Down,' 'American Girl,' 'You Got Lucky,' 'Breakdown,' 'Don't Come Around Here No More,' 'Into the Great Wide Open,' 'Mary Jane's Last Dance' and 'A Woman in Love (It's Not Me),' to name a few. And they leave the concert as if they'd just partied all night with their best friends in a college dorm; it's a celebrative, high energy, happy place to be for one night.

The multiple times I've seen Petty and his compadres perform live, from The Gorge to the Tacoma Dome and several venues in between, the atmosphere has been electric with people dancing, punching beach balls in the air and wrapping their arms around complete strangers while belting out those Petty hits in a big sing-along.

The four-decade journey that this iconic rock group embarked on has brought them incredible success. Up until 2010, when the band released its twelfth album Mojo (they've since put out another recording, Hypnotic Eye, in 2014), they had tallied 80 million copies sold of their albums worldwide and 17 Grammy nominations. Although the Heartbreakers have only won a single Grammy, Petty earned another for his solo track 'You Don't Know How It Feels' and also claimed an award as a member of the Travelin' Wilbury's (with Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne). And let's not forget that Petty has collaborated frequently with Stevie Nicks over the years, most notably on her breakout hit 'Stop Draggin' My Heart Around.'

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will take to Safeco Field this weekend to play in front of nearly 50,000 fans. It will be a party zone for sure, but a really fun and joyful party zone, with people of various ages, from college kids to grandparents. This is the first time that I can remember the group playing in the city vs. at The Gorge, White River Amphitheatre, or at the Tacoma Dome. They'll play a bunch of their hits with very few new songs, and I'm guessing Eddie Vedder will make a special appearance, as he's done before. For tickets, go to www.LiveNation.com.

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