Monday, July 12, 2010

Tom Petty "I Should Have Known It" video

Photo By Chris Tuite for Rolling Stone

Can I just say this video footage rocks? Getting to see the whole record-live-with-no-headphones thing REALLY brings home what a tight hard rocking band the Heartbreakers can be. I still get blown away by the power of this band when they decide to unleash it. However, being reminded how great they can be is bittersweet for me because too often in their live shows, they aren't great. I think they tend to kill their own live show by playing boring versions of the same old hits night after night, year after year. There is no spontaneity and the band certainly don't look passionate any longer when I have seen them in the past 10 years. I strongly believe that TP and the Heartbreakers have fantastic potential to be one of the best live bands of all time (like they were on the 1997 20-night Fillmore run), and IMO, they mostly throw it away when they do an arena tour. It seems to me they are playing it safe, trying to leave no fan disappointed, playing all the hits every night. Its been virtually the same concert for all tours from the past 10 years with just a handful or less of new songs thrown in each tour to differentiate them. If they'd only play live like the Black Crowes do and the Grateful Dead did (keeping a large repertoire of songs that gets greatly changed up from night to night and tour to tour) , the Heartbreakers would be one of the most smoking rock 'n' roll shows you could ever see. The recent all-live box set is ample proof of what this band is capable of. It shows that the Heartbreakers, like the Crowes and The Dead, are masters of most of the major American popular music styles (rock 'n' roll, blues, country, soul, folk). But you'd never know it if you went to see them in an arena. Its truly baffling to me why they choose to downplay their strength in favor of doing the same thing over and over and over in their live shows.