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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers/Steve Winwood
June 11, 2008
New England Music Center, Hartford, CT  

A breezy summer night set the mood for this flawless show. Beachballs, flip flops, lawn chairs and friendly folks from all generations came together to enjoy this double bill of equally powerful rockers, Tom Petty and Steve Winwood.

Steve Winwood

Winwood came on without fanfare and played a deep mix of new and classic work, as well as some gems from Blind Faith and Traffic. The earlier set had a jazzy feel and the crowd danced and swayed. "Can't Find My Way Home" was soulful and sultry, while "Dear Mr. Fantasy" brought visceral reactions from the vault. A young teenager and his friend were glued to the gate commenting, "Hey, it sounds just like it used to on the album!" "Bring Me a Higher Love" was extended instrumentally and the crowd was also treated to the cover of Spencer Davis Group/Blues Brothers' "Gimme Some Lovin."

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Tom Petty

After what seemed to be a long intermission, darkness had fallen and the ready crowd was eager for Petty. He did not disappoint. He instantly made contact with the crowd saying "Oh, Baby!" and after "Mary Jane's Last Dance" he said, "I hear you singin out there!" He suggested "Let's sing this one together" and "I Won't Back Down" became the anthem. "How ya feelin?" "Well, we're feeling good up here!" He thanked the crowd countless times and often changed poses to even further endear us to him. He stood with arms out, smiling, "You're outta control!"

He surprised us with "Sweet William" a song from an EP in Germany that he recorded 10 years ago. He said, "We're gonna try it." It was very bluesy, yet mid-way through had a hard fast guitar riff and then brought you back to the blues again, had some harp, too. The guys behind me yelled, "We don't care if we don't know it, it's hot!" Petty put the stage lights on, "Let me see these people!" He played the traveling Willbury's "Well, It's Alright" with vocal accompainment.

The band was introduced and well appreciated, calling the lead guitarist the "co-captain". He called "Breakdown" "a real old one".

He lead the crowd in a back and forth exchange, "I won't cry" "yeah, yeah, yeah." and made the song more like a blues number, very cool. He slowed it down even more and "Face in the Crowd" included a long piano solo that was beautiful. And just when we were all mellowed out, he turned up the energy with the Byrds classic, "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better", a song he said he hadn't played in 15 years. "You Don't Know How It Feels" had a country vibe and he had us laughing with his poses, including shaking his rear to the crowd from time to time. As with Tom Petty's collection of deep classics, there is endless talent, endless energy and the show itself, was a solid two hours. His voice and band without a shadow of a doubt, rocked the house.  

Setlist:

1. You Wreck Me
2. Mary Jane's Last Dance
3. I Won't Back Down
4. Even the Losers
5. Free Fallin'
6. Honey Bee
7. Sweet William
8. End of the Line
9. Breakdown
10. Saving Grace
11. Face in the Crowd
12. I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better
13. You Don't Know How it Feels
14. Learning to Fly
15. Don't Come Around Here No More
16. Refugee

Encore:

17. Runnin' Down a Dream
18. Baby Please Don't Go
19. American Girl

 

 

 


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