In Praise of Petty
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers recent six night stand at The Fonda Theater warranted all the exclamatory praise heaped on it. Everything about the concerts revealed what can be great about American Rock n Roll.
Admittedly, I am biased, as the roots of the 'small hall' concerts had their genesis in TP & The HBs glorious two-night stand at the first KCSN Benefit Concerts in 2011. Tom and the band were revitalized by the fact that those audiences reveled in the band exploring long-dormant tracks from their repertoire, as well as inspired covers which showcased the band's ability to play anything, and play it with fervor.
Watching the band's performance on the Fonda made me reflect back to the very first time I saw the band perform. I booked them at a small club in my hometown of Youngstown in 1976. They had been opening for, among others, The Ramones. The band had created a buzz in the UK, but had yet to get a toehold in the U.S. We then forged a friendship that has lasted decades.
I've watched the band evolve into one of the greatest bands to ever live. They have remained relevant to the broadest cross-section of fans, from hipsters to 'hits-only' Classic Rock fans.
Their performances at the Fonda revealed their affinity for a multitude of eras and genres. They thrilled the fans with their high-wire willingness to perform songs from their earliest efforts—without having rehearsed them in decades. They are a national treasure.
On a personal note, KCSN will forever owe a debt of gratitude to Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Two years ago, I joined KCSN, with grand plans and great desire to build a radio station in Los Angeles dedicated to supporting music and artists—both new and legendary. When I asked Tom if he would 'help me'; he didn't miss a beat. "Yes" was his immediate answer. There were a million reasons why they could have said no. There was only one reason to say yes. They were true believers in what radio can be.
"Anything That's Rock n' Roll" indeed…
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