Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Xcel Energy Center – St Paul MN – June 3rd 2017

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Minnesota on the night of June 3, 2017.  Opening is the extremely talented, if not equally as talented, Joe Walsh of Eagles, James Gang, not to mention solo, fame.  Needless to say, it was a huge night for classic rock in the Twin Cities.

The only real downside to the evening began immediately.  The place was packed and many people didn’t get into the show until three songs into Joe Walsh’s set. We do appreciate everyone keeping us safe, so thank you Granted, his set didn’t kick in with the awesome tunes until then, so that’s okay.  Five songs into his set, he played a beautiful tribute to Glenn Frey, treating us all to “Take It to the Limit”.  In all honestly, that’s when I felt his set really began.  I didn’t know any of his music prior to that song and all the songs he picked after that were fantastic choices.  He made one of my favorite comments of the evening, commenting on all the younger people in the audience.  He proceeded to say, “To all the young people in the audience, your parents really loved this song”, immediately following it up with “In the City”.  In addition to The Eagles, he played “Life’s Been Good” from his solo career and one of my personal favorites, “Funk 49” by James Gang. In closing, he played “Rocky Mountain Way.”
Tom Petty took to the stage with The Heartbreakers roughly twenty minutes later, opening with “Rockin’ Around with You” from their first album.  The song was accompanied by video footage from 1977 of the younger versions of him and the band.  The stage show was very well done, complete with lasers, disco lights, and overall, just great stage lighting.  It makes such a huge difference when there is good stage lighting.  You get a feel that the people running the show really know how to put together a good show and it is evident from this that they did.  It’s not their first time out of the gate.
The hits began with “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”, which immediately transferred me back to being ten years old.  So many memories there.  He said that it was their fortieth anniversary and as a result, the concert was going to be like dropping a needle all over a record of forty years.  That’s exactly what happened.
The setlist was all over the forty years of the band being together.  Ranging with songs such as “Free Fallin'”, “You Don’t Know How it Feels”, “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and more, the second half of the show took a turn with a lot of songs from the “Wildflowers” album.  They decided to play a very long version of “It’s Good to Be the King”.  It’s a good song, but a lot of people took the extended version time to take a break from the show.  Two songs I wish would have been played were “Into the Great Wide Open” and “Breakdown” and I feel they may have been able to squeeze one of those in, had they not done that long rendition.  I can’t complain about such a great show, but that was the element I found a bit unnecessary.
One amazing aspect to the show was the inclusion of the song, “Walls”.  This song had special meaning, as it was dedicated to Laury Myhre, who Petty dedicated the song to by name.  Laury is a fan battling terminal cancer whose final wish was to meet Tom Petty, which she did.  Her wish was posted on Tom Petty Fanclub Facebook and, as these things so often do, it went viral.  She was able to meet him and the band and also get that song dedicated directly to her, which is just unbelievably sweet.
Ending with “Refugee” and “American Girl” was a great way to go out.  The show overall was so fun.  Classic rock has a really interesting audience, filled with several generations, which is something I really like about it.  This is one of those classic rock shows I would see again, filled with not only good tunes, but a great opening act, a fun atmosphere both on and offstage, and an amazing stage show.