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Concert Reviews:
Petty and Heartbreakers Bring Genuine American Rock 'n' Roll Show to DTE

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Wednesday, August 9, 2006

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Like the title of his first solo album in 1989, Tom Petty brought some "Full Moon Fever" on Tuesday night to a sold-out DTE Energy Music Theatre.

With the moon indeed shining brightly overhead, Petty and his band, the Heartbreakers, rocked the 15,000-plus fans and busted DTE's 11 p.m. curfew with a nearly two-hour, 19-song performance that lived up to Petty's introduction of it as "one of your gen-u-wine all-American rock 'n' roll shows." And while Petty and company have reliably put on one of rock's most exciting shows, they managed to up the ante again on Tuesday as they celebrated the 30th anniversary of the group's first album.

There were, of course, plenty of hits -- among them "I Won't Back Down," "Free Fallin'," "Mary Jane's Last Dance," "Learning to Fly," "Don't Come Around Here No More," "American Girl." But the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sextet made the night more special by dipping into its roots for versions of Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man" (as popularized by the Yardbirds) and Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well, Pt. 1," plus an encore rendition of Them's trippy "Mystic Eyes" with opening act Trey Anastasio on guitar.

He wasn't the evening's only guest, either. Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks, who Petty introduced as "family," stepped out to recreate the hit duets "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" and "The Insider" and to sing lead on Petty's "I Need to Know." Nicks also took a turn as a Heartbreakerette, banging a tambourine and dancing during "Don't Come Around Here No More."

The Heartbreakers fared just fine when left to their own devices, too. With Petty's Michigan-born wife Dana and members of her family watching from the sides, they proved again what an impressively facile outfit they are, from the ringing retro pop sounds of "Listen to Her Heart" to the rootsy stomp of "You Don't Know How it Feels," the easygoing roll of the Traveling Wilburys' "Handle With Care" and the hushed gentleness of "Square One" form Petty's latest solo effort, "Highway Companion." And, of course, they rocked, with Mike Campbell's searing solos blistering through ferocious performances of "Refugee" and "Runnin' Down a Dream." (Note to the dreadlock-sporting Campbell, however; Don Was calls and wants his hair back.)

"Wouldn't it be great," Petty vamped during the encore, "if just for one moment, everything was all right?" On Tuesday, he and the Heartbreakers made sure there were plenty of those.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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