Tom Petty played Forest Hills Stadium again (night 2 pics, review, setlist)
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers are about to wrap up another leg of their 40th anniversary tour, having just done a two-night stand at the Forest Hills Stadium in Queens on Wednesday (7/26) and Thursday (7/27). It’s pretty incredible how many hits Petty has, and nearly every song in his two-hour set was a massive, memorable one. Tom Petty songs are the kind of songs that are built into rock’s DNA at this point. Even if it’s been a while since you heard one, as soon as it comes on you remember every word. That was true for thousands of people at Forest Hills Stadium on Thursday, where the majority of Petty’s set was a massive singalong. After kicking off with “Rockin’ Around (With You),” the first song on their 1976 debut, they went right into the beloved “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” Other truly gigantic songs got played early on, like “I Won’t Back Down” back to back with “Free Fallin’,” and Petty went out with a bang with the rockin’ “Refugee” into “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” before an encore of “American Girl.” (The night two setlist was nearly identical to night one.)
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers still sound as great today as they do on those ’70s records, probably thanks in part to the fact that they still have 4/5 of the classic lineup. In addition to the man of the hour, there’s longtime keyboardist Benmont Tench, bassist Ron Blair, and Petty’s right hand man Mike Campbell. Petty told a story of the first time he jammed with Campbell when he was looking for a guitarist to join Mudcrutch, and he said that after one run through of “Johnny B. Goode,” Petty told Campbell he was gonna be his guitarist forever. They really do have so much chemistry together, and Campbell remains almost as much of a star as Petty. For one, he looks so damn cool. Rocking a full-brimmed hat, dark shades, a vest over a flamboyant button-down, and thick long hair, he personifies the image of rock and roll cool. On top of that, his solos really shine with precision and power. Petty called him one of the all-time rock greats and I could not disagree.
The singalongs were enough to make it a memorable show, but the cherry on top were the times where the band really let themselves shine as instrumentalists. As they’ve been known to do, they stretched out “It’s Good To Be King” to over twice its original length and really get locked into a loud, intense jam. “Refugee” had an extra dose of power thrown in too, both in the overdriven guitars and in Petty’s yells in the chorus. I think he was yelling again for “American Girl” too, but I can’t even be sure. The loving crowd was drowning him out.
Also during “American Girl,” Petty had pictures and videos of women on the screen behind him, including one of transgender actress Alexis Arquette, who passed away last year — a powerful image, especially timed with this week’s trans ban.
A few pictures of the show are above. Check out more shots and video clips from Instagram below (including one with the shot of Alexis Arquette, posted by Alexis’ brother David).
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers @ Forest Hills Stadium – 7/27/17 Setlist (via)
Rockin’ Around (With You)
Mary Jane’s Last Dance
You Don’t Know How It Feels
Into the Great Wide Open
I Won’t Back Down
Don’t Come Around Here No More
It’s Good to Be King
Crawling Back to You
Learning to Fly
Yer So Bad
I Should Have Known It
Runnin’ Down a Dream
photos by Dana Distortion for Forest Hills Stadium