Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Isle of Wight 2012 review
'An astronomical performance'
Anja Kimberley - 23 June 2012
In one of his first UK dates in 20 years, a man who has inspired countless people of all ages to pick up a guitar resumed the reins and gave an astronomical performance that only a legend could.
Without word or hesitation Tom and his band pick up their instruments and fire out and two short sharp intros to warm up the crowd. The blaze of lights sweeps over each band member as memories come to life in sharp suits and familiar stances. Petty himself looks perfectly at home and is eager to deliver, rolling swiftly into 'I Won't Back Down' and talking briefly to the crowd at intervals.
There is an irony in his every "I thank you so much" as these are relentlessly followed up with furious intricacies across
a range of guitars, paired with "co-Pilot and lifelong friend" Mike Campbell as they pluck, strum and essentially drive their
way through each masterpiece, determined to push satisfaction to its limits.
'Good Enough' from most recent album Mojo is an instant highlight of the weekend, it is clear that Tom is fully aware of this as he grins knowingly throughout the track, poised with bent knees and tosses his plectrum over his shoulder in satisfaction. The band treat us to several Travelling Wilburys tracks and a host of revealing tales of romance in 'Here Comes my Girl' and 'Free Fallin'' which concludes the anticipation that has been building from mainland England as these have been the words on everybody's lips since the announcement of the line-up.
Keeping the energy levels high 'Refugee' is quickly followed by 'It'll All Work Out' and the possibility that an end may be creeping in is raised with the band introductions and thank-yous. Drummer Steve Ferrone from Brighton is met with chants of 'Steve-O' and it's hard to tell if the enthusiasm can be heard from his seat, a large smile and a wave triggers greater applause before the band get the chance to proceed.
'It's Good to be King' further raises the bar as the pounding rock and roll that induces a field of dance is crafted into a show of guitar mastery somewhere between duet and battle of Tom Petty and Mike Campbell as the challenge is manipulated and intensified by one, the other and both. The energy is astounding, and there is no cool off in sight, other than a lighting error to which the band press on momentarily in darkness.
The lights eventually dim, yet the tell tale of encore remains in a singular light at the centre-front of the stage.
Snatching the happy romantic vibe Tom angrily shakes his maracas to 'Don't Come Around Here no More', eventually discarding them in dramatic rage behind his back only to re-emerge with a tambourine which he pounds and shakes in mischievous comical anger - again concluded with a coy "Thank you so much, we are so excited to be here". Instrumentals follow until the audience are utterly exhausted and ready to drop at their feet, not an ounce of energy has been spared and we are all rocked out - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers-style, no less.
Click here for our full Isle of Wight 2012 coverage.
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