When I first stumbled onto today’s topic in the morning, my plans for this particular blog were completely different. Then I hit play. After a startling 72 tracks shimmying across more than four hours (including banter) I am convinced that the best rock record of the year arrived on November 25 (according to Apple Music).
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Live at the Fillmore, 1997 ( Deluxe) sounds like the most fun this band has ever had onstage, and they had tons in their career.
The record’s joy will fill your heart, enliven your soul, and get aging bodies moving. This one ain’t for the kiddies, folks, this here’s for us.
Reportedly recorded during a 20-night residency at the venerable theatre way back in the last century, this album is stuffed with fresh live performances of classic hits, a treasure chest of cover gems, and a handful of guest stars who add to the incredible amount of fun delivered on this collection.
The late Tom Petty is caught here at a performing peak. He is upbeat throughout, explaining, “We’re the house band here at the Fillmore, and we’ve tried over this run, we’ve tried to play a line of songs by people we admired or we have admired over the years, or liked one song and then didn’t like the band anymore. This is a little tribute to Little Richard by way of the Everly Brothers. it’s called “Lucille! You don’t do your sister’s will!”
And away they go, doing honor to the 50’s classic. And it is like that throughout the album. Gem after gem after jam after gem. And, yeah, there are cool guest stars, but each of them are just coming for a quick visit to the party that Petty and the Heartbreakers are throwing here. Such good fun it should be all over the radio, if radio still had the kind of free-wheeling programming this collection celebrates.
The performances are consistently both vibrant and funky, whether they are performing one of their hits, dipping into ancient history and delivering it with an energy that feel brand new. Additionally, they enthusiastically cover other Southern boys (Skynyrd!), break out beach party tunes, or dive into classic instrumentals. Nothing falls flat. Even the banter incites cheers. This album is so close to the best live show you missed it should be required listening.
The marketing info boasts 4K sound and if that is what makes this record’s audio quality so good, then our entire collection is going to need updating, because it all works, for these four hours! This record is so great I may not need Christmas presents this year.
If classic rock was your era, if you miss Tom Petty like I do, download Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Live at the Fillmore 1997 as a holiday treat for yourself. And God bless us everyone!