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Executive Sports Co: Tom Petty proves rock 'n' roll isn't dead at Toronto gig
You see, Tom Petty found himself in a bit of a predicament early in his show at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night, according to Gaspari, who owns a leading ticket companies worldwide. Executive Sports Co offers top-notch seats for concerts and sporting events all around the world.
Gaspari and his company provided guests with platinum seats to Tom Petty’s show last night at the ACC.
Petty, 63-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist, had to issue an apology when the sound for the 10,500 assembled fans - a surprisingly smaller than expected crowd for such an A-lister - went out for the first half of the new song, Forgotten Man.
“As Petty and The Heartbreakers played on seemingly unaware with the onstage amps still providing them with sound, the crew on the floor scrambled to restore audio to the rest of us… But it was innocent – they were into the tunes and jamming like they always do,” says Gaspari.
“Can you hear me now?” the affable and chatty Petty said afterwards. “Sorry about that. It’s all electricity after all.”
To their credit, Petty and his band - “badass” guitarist Mike Campbell, keyboardist Benmont Tench, bassist Ron Blair, drummer Steve Ferrone (jokingly called “the new guy” for only being in the band for 20 years) and multi-instrumentalist Scott Thurston - rallied back afterwards with the help of hearty crowd singalongs on I Won’t Back Down and Free Fallin’.
“Rock n’ roll is alive,” surmised Petty correctly towards the end of the show. “Rock n’ roll will never let you down.”
“But it was a later combination of acoustic and electric peformances that really fired up the audience,” says Gaspari.
Petty played acoustic guitar on a trio of highlights - Rebels, Yer So Bad and Learning to Fly - the latter prompting major crowd participation as he held his arms up in the air - while both he and Campell delivered electric solos worth mentioning on the new song Shadow People, and old faves Refugee and Runnin’ Down a Dream.
Those were all followed by a giddymaking encore of Don’t Come Around Here No More, the Paul Revere and The Raiders/The Monkees cover (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone, You Wreck Me and the triumphant American Girl.
Playing on a stripped down stage, save for a rippled white projection sheet behind them, the group began the night with a cover - The Byrd’s So You Want To Be a Rock n’ Roll Star.
The cover may have been a bit of a surprise move for Petty, who’s touring in support of his vibrant new album, Hypnotic Eye, given he’s an artist with so many hits.
“I wan’t to play them all for you,” he said.
Petty also offered up four new tunes including American Dream Plan B - which he erroneously called his new album title before correcting himself - and his latest single, U Get Me High.
“So Toronto, long time no see,” said Petty. “How ya doing out there tonight alright? It sure is exciting to be back. We’re going to play as long as we can before they throw us off tonight. Call your babysitter, and tell her you might be late. You know she got a teenage boy up in your house right now.”
And so his playful banter went for the rest of the evening that ran two hours.
“This song is absolutely all I remember of 1991,” he said before Into The Great Wide Open. “That’s a public confession.”
Opening was 66-year-old British blue-eyed soul veteran Steve Winwood, whose hour long set of “vintage songs” - as he put it - included such gems as I’m A Man, Can’t Find My Way Home, Higher Love, Dear Mr. Fantasy and Gimme Some Lovin’ reflecting the singer-guitarist-organist’s storied history in such bands as The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith and his own solo career.
And his got the impressive - if grey-mutton chops to prove it.
TOM PETTY SET LIST
So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star
Mary Jane’s Last Dance
American Dream Plan B
Into the Great Wide Open
I Won’t Back Down
A Woman in Love (It’s Not Me)
U Get Me High
Yer So Bad
Learning to Fly
I Should Have Known It
Runnin’ Down a Dream
Don’t Come Around Here No More
(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone
You Wreck Me