Standing face to face with Elvis Presley for a brief moment in time, a young Tom Petty went home a changed man. From that moment on, Petty’s passion for music turned into an obsession that led into a forever-evolving music career. Since 1976, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers re-energized Rock ‘n’ Roll with hit after hit after hit.
So it’s no surprise that a standing ovation erupted through the Air Canada Center from over 19,000 fans as soon as the band hit the stage. “What’s Your Mojo?” Petty shouts to the crowd before kicking off the show with “Rockin’ Around With You”, a song they haven’t played since the launch of their self-titled debut album. The crowd hung to every word, singing along with every lyric. And not just to the classics that followed next, including “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”, “You Got Lucky”, “Don’t Come Around Here No More”, as well as Petty’s solo songs, “I won’t Back Down” and a few hits from the album Wildflowers.
The synchronicity on stage between band members lead guitarist Mike Campbell, keyboardist Benmont Tench, bassist Ron Blair, along with drummer Steve Ferrone, and Scott Thurston on harmonica, created a sound of brilliance showcasing their 40-year catalog.
But this time around, there are ladies joining The Heartbreakers on stage. Charley and Hattie, The Webb Sisters, were previously singing back up vocals for the late Leonard Cohen. The ladies voices transcended beautifully with their added harmonies in “It’s Good to be King” and “Refugee”.
The band covered as many songs as they could from almost every album, with Petty and Campbell strumming their guitars side by side for old times sake. “Are you ready to dance?!” Petty shouted as “Don’t Come around Here No More” burst through the speakers with Campbell rocking out on his guitar. Campbell’s guitar skills radiated throughout the night, from “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” to “You Don’t Know How it Feels”. Tench shared the spotlight with Campbell during “It’s Good to be King”.
40 years later, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have continued to evolve as the times change. Their music matters now just as much as it did back then, proving that they are among Rock’s most influential voices.
– Alyona Kravtsova