Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers sure know how to work a crowd. The Rock Hall inductee started his band's concert last night at Blossom Music Center with a series of hits before turning to material from their latest new album, the mostly forgettable Mojo.
The mid-show departure gave fans a good opportunity to visit the concession stands and restrooms or simply sit down for a bit.
Petty and the Heartbreakers returned to playing some favorites before wrapping up with bona fide classics like “American Girl.”
“We’re really happy to have made it to Cleveland,” Petty said at the start of the 90-minute show, a make-up date for a concert that was canceled earlier this summer when guitarist Mike Campbell had to take a few days off to recover from exhaustion. “I’m happy to report Mike Campbell is 100 percent healthy.”
The concert began with a mellow “Listen to Her Heart” but picked up with a tongue-in-cheek cover of Fleetwood Mac's “Oh Well,” in which Petty played maracas as he worked the crowd. Campbell’s sinewy guitar drove “Breakdown,” which was extended into a bluesy jam.
Most of the songs from Mojo didn’t really resonate, but “I Should Have Known It” was riveting garage-blues that got the audience back on its feet. Petty returned with “Learning to Fly” and “Refugee” before coming back to deliver a three-song encore.
While the concert was somewhat predictable, there’s no denying Petty’s endurance as a performer. And the always-reliable Heartbreakers once again proved why they’re one of rock’s finest bands. They effortlessly shifted in and out of blues jams without any of the indulgence you get with less-talented groups.
Though the Drive-by Truckers’ opening set wasn’t nearly as epic as the two-and-a-half hour Beachland show they played earlier this summer, the band still managed a gritty set of Southern rock-inspired rawk during their hour-long opening slot. —Jeff Niesel
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