Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Rock The Beacon Theatre (Review)

Tom Petty of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers performs during the 2013 Hangout Music Festival on May 18, 2013 in Gulf Shores, Alabama Tom Petty of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers performs during the 2013 Hangout Music Festival on May 18, 2013 in Gulf Shores, Alabama

You can have Miley Cyrus. Keep Justin Bieber. On a night when the Rolling Stones stormed LA’s Staples Center, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers shook New York’s Beacon Theatre.

It was their second of five sold out spring shows that brought radiance and joy to Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

This is a magical musical experience. No time for tabloid tantrums, these guys pump out pure rock ‘n’ roll, sweet and simple, as it’s meant to be.

The sound system was awesome and Petty enjoyed a remarkable rapport with his adoring fans. Lush lighting added to the aura. Let’s hope someone was recording the show for future release!

Monday’s kick-off featured an all hits extravaganza — you can’t forget these guys have been playing together for 37 years.

“American Girl,” “Refugee,” “Free Fallin’,” they were all there. Tuesday night the band promised something different and didn’t disappoint. Petty reached back in time and pulled some rarely performed gems from the catalogue.

The guys even pumped out a vintage tune from Petty’s other band, the Travelling Wilburys with “When the Walls Came Down.” Petty offered a spot-on Dylan impression, right down to the scowl. A surprisingly mellow version of one of the band’s early anthems, “I Was Born A Rebel,” kicked it and “Wildflower” proved to be a real crowd-pleaser.

Two solid hours of straight from the heart, rock ‘n’ roll. My favorite moment came when, after a
mysterious musical interlude with Petty on harmonica, the band launched into a vibrant cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil.” Wow.

Somewhere, Jerry Garcia was smiling. And so was I.

-- Christine Fahey

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