On a hot July evening, as I sat at The Harbor in Rockwall, I came some realizations about the music of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It has always seemed laid back, enjoyable in its way, but not really my thing. Something that is nice in tiny doses, but not for long periods of time. It occurred to me as I listened to the tribute band Petty Theft that I had never listened to Tom Petty for more than a few minutes at a time, probably during some kind of rock block on one of the local stations.
Not that Petty Theft couldn’t pull off a fine set. They managed to get through much of the better known tunes adequately, though they also left off a handful of notables like “You Got Lucky and “Breakdown.” People in the audience who were real fans of Tom Petty seemed to enjoy the performance. I noticed a few singing along even with tunes I had only heard a couple of times.They even spiced things up with a couple songs by the Byrds in the middle of the show.
There were a couple technical problems. Particularly in the beginning of the show, the vocals were not harmonized as tightly as one might hope with a group that’s been around as long as this one has. Also, I got the impression that they didn’t want the audience to hear any solos since when the time came for one – on both guitar and keyboards—it was either very low or couldn’t be heard.
If you are a fan of Tom Petty, these guys are probably worth checking out. They seem to get many gigs in the DFW metroplex. This was third year at The Harbor, and I suspect they’ll be back next year. But I may skip that show.