Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Fonda Theatre - 6/3/13
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Better than: Arena-style Tom Petty
When a performer says he's playing deep cuts and rarities, that can cause trepidation. Best case scenario, you get to geek out to songs you never thought you'd hear live. Worst case, you get a bunch of crap that's unknown for good reason.
It was the former rather than the latter last night in Hollywood as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers kicked off their six night stint at the Fonda. Petty promised that the residency (the band's first run of small theater gigs since 2003) wouldn't be a greatest hits scenario. The band, now well into their third decade together, jammed loose and heavy on songs both familiar and less so.
The chance to see Petty, one of the major arena rockers of our time, in a 1,200 person venue made for some high anticipation. By 6pm, the line to get into the Theatre snaked down Hollywood Boulevard and wrapped around Gower. Inside though, the Fonda didn't feel uncomfortably packed or at all oversold. In the pit, there was space to move around, which was excellent, because most everyone was about to start dancing.
See also: Our slideshow of the concert
Credit: Timothy Norris
The band came onstage just after
8pm 9pm, Petty wearing a green military style jacket with some embellishments, because he's Tom Petty and his clothes are always a little fancy. He look great -- bearded, healthy, smiling -- his signature shag haircut blowing in the breeze. The group opened with a cover of The Byrds' "So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star" and followed it immediately with Full Moon Fever's "Love Is a Long Road," which sent a cheer through the crowd as we all realized in unison that when Petty says "deep cuts," he simply means some of the best songs off his best albums that anyone who's more than a casual fan is dying to hear anyways.
"It's so good to be here in Hollywood," Petty declared. "We're only going to be playing deep stuff tonight, but we'll give you one right now that you can sing along to." It was "I Won't Back Down," and we sang along with an thrilled enthusiasm bordering on glee.