Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers 40th anniversary tour was announced in September of last year, and awaited by many anxious fans. “This was the tour we said we'd never do again.” Tom spoke on his radio show, the day after the dates had been released. Tom Petty and his band have been touring, recording and playing together for longer than most bands stay together. Fifty years, if you count Mudcrutch, a band that was made up of most of the Heartbreakers, before seeking out a record label.
On May 13th, the Indianapolis show took place at Klipsch Music Center, a well known and loved venue whose name change in the early 2001 shook up its fans. Workers wore shirts that read “I'll Always Call It Deer Creek” as this was the name the venue was given when it was built in the 1980’s. The show kicked off with a respectable opening lead by Joe Walsh, of The Eagles. Close friend of the heartbreakers since way back when. He wore a famously large grin and seemed happy to be apart. Joe played his hits as well as one of the Eagles more popular tunes, “Take It To The Limit”, dedicated to the recently passed Glenn Frey. This was no doubt the highlight of the opening act, as the sold out crowd sang along and cheered. Joe waved, before waltzing off to make room for Tom and his band.
The Heartbreakers appeared rather unofficially onstage, staggering on without any sort of introduction. Tom approached the microphone with a friendly, “Hey everybody!” before nodding into the first song off the first album, for a nostalgic start. “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” followed, causing the already receptive crowd to roar even louder, when Tom drew out each vowel in our state's name the audience screamed in response and his smile grew. And the hits kept coming, as Mike Campbell added a well refined guitar solo to every number, to remind us that his name is one of the most underrated in the world of guitar playing. Lifting his well worn hat from his head, after every moment in the spotlight. Benmont Tench “The greatest piano player in rock and roll!” According to Tom, made every song his own, with elegant licks and beaming passion. Each member of the Heartbreakers, old and new, showed incredible stamina and enthusiasm as they played only nineteen songs, but performed each one longer than the last, allowing a jam session to be born. When the show neared an end, Tom thanked the crowed for being the loudest one in all of America, as the band laughed in response.
Two careful years of planning this tour paid off, as nearly every show sold out in the first weeks. Only a few short days ago, the band reunited in Seattle , after a couple week break from travel, to begin the last leg of their 40th anniversary tour. The band has been known to keep adding shows to the list, never getting over the thrill of playing live.
“This will probably be the last big one.” Tom has been quoted, for the past fifteen years, referring to these world wide set of shows. And though this is the first tour in a long while, the smiles on their faces and light in their eyes held a glimpse of hope that there will always be a new Heartbreakers song on the radio, and the promise of one more tour.