Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have 40 years on the books now — that’s the point of the band’s current tour — so it almost seems unfair to only get 19 songs in a headlining set on the first day of the inaugural Arroyo Seco Weekend in Pasadena on Saturday, June 24.
But that ended up making for two hours of music, and in the end the fans who packed the festival grounds in front of the Oaks Stage — and we really mean packed; more on that in a bit — probably heard most of the hits they came for.
“Rockin’ Around (With You)” opened up the night, a nod to the band’s history, with Petty noting it was “the first song on the first album we ever did.” Up next, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” an outtake from a Petty solo album that came out on a Heartbreakers’ greatest hits collection. Confusing? Not really, the Petty solo records were always practically Heartbreakers’ albums in all but name.
And that’s how they were treated on Saturday, with solo hits such as “You Don’t Know How It Feels” and “I Won’t Back Down” fitting neatly around a Heartbreakers’ classic like “You Got Lucky.”
Most of these guys have been playing together for decades: Petty, guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench go back to Mudcrutch, the band they were in before they became the Heartbreakers, and the others have been in and out of the band for years, with Petty joking during the band introductions that drummer Steve Ferrone, who’s only been in the group for 23 years, is the new guy.
So they sounded as sharp and tight as you’d imagine. The keyboards and bass that open “You Got Lucky” in such an instantly recognizable fashion were terrific. And even the introduction of a new song in place…