By Chris M. Junior
Time has been kind to the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers catalog, and on its 40th anniversary tour, the band is playing around with the clock to great effect on select songs.
Just like they did July 1 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Petty and company opened their July 29 show at that venue by playing “Rockin’ Around (With You)” — the first track on their 1976 self-titled debut — and followed with “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” both from the first half of the 1990s.
While the rest of the July 29 setlist was in line with most of the previous shows on this mostly arena tour, the surprises came via the extension of familiar songs. Those getting longer treatments included “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and “It’s Good To Be King” (with the normally reserved Steve Ferrone also providing extra drum power on both) and “You Wreck Me” (during which keyboardist Benmont Tench and guitarist Mike Campbell exchanged brief lead lines in the breakdown following Campbell’s main solo).
‘Two new friends of ours’
The addition of sisters Charley and Hattie Webb as backing vocalists — “two new friends of ours,” Petty noted early between songs at this Wells Fargo show — was a plus. Oftentimes the Webbs shined most when being subtle (as they were on “Crawling Back to You”).
Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 40th anniversary tour will resume Aug. 17 in Vancouver, and it is currently scheduled to conclude in late September with three shows at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.