Currently on tour celebrating 40 years together, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers made a stop in Columbus Wednesday night.
The evening began with a setlist by rock veteran Joe Walsh, and if the concert had been over after Walsh’s performance, I would have left happy. Between playing all of his notable hits and his easy-going stage banter, Walsh made for the perfect opening act.
He assured the few millennials in the audience that while they may not be familiar with his music, their parents sure loved it years ago.
Walsh played “Rocky Mountain Way” and “Take it to the limit” as well as other songs from his impressive catalogue before closing with “Life’s Been Good,” which elicited a huge response from the crowd.
Hitting the stage soon after, Petty and company kicked off their two-hour set by throwing it way back to the beginning and playing the first song off of their very first album, “Rockin’ Around (With You).”
Sticking mostly to the band’s classic hits like “Refugee” and “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” Petty and company also played “Forgotten Man” from their 2014 album and sometimes strayed into Petty’s solo hits like, “You Don’t Know How It Feels” and “Wildflowers” –– not that anyone in the crowd was complaining.
After 40 years together, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers are showing no signs of wear and tear. Petty’s unique voice sounded excellent and the band was at the top of its game. It’s been awhile since I have been to a live show where the band was so connected to the audience and clearly enjoying itself.
Closing out the show with “Runnin’ Down A Dream,” Petty and the band exited the stage while the crowd used their cell phone lights to create a soft glow, hoping the band would return. After a brief absence, Petty & The Heartbreakers satisfied their fans by playing a two-song encore of “You Wreck Me” and, arguably their most famous song, “American Girl.”
Before departing the stage for good, Petty remarked, “I’ve come to Columbus a lot, and you always come back. I appreciate it so much,” and I’m sure that the next time Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers stop in Columbus, we’ll all definitely come back too.