Jordan Strauss, Invision LOS ANGELES (AP) - Rush fans can relax. The band is…
- Posted on Jul 29th 2010 11:00AM by Dan Reilly
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As part of the 'Mojo' tour -- named for their bluesy album, released in June -- Petty and the Heartbreakers have been performing their trademark marathon, hit-filled shows across North America for nearly two months. And if they've grown weary of the road, they didn't show it at MSG.
After opener 'Listen to Her Heart,' Petty, decked out in what looked to be a black velvet jacket and a shiny purple shirt, led off with a string of hits. 'You Don't Know How It Feels' featured a long, soft guitar solo from Petty and 'Won't Back Down' ended with the spotlight on the frontman, who received the first of many huge ovations throughout the night.
"We've got a little love ballad. It's for all you lovers out there, and those of you with lovers you shouldn't be here with," Petty said before strumming the opening notes to 'Free Fallin'.' With the capacity crowd screaming the chorus, Petty and the band grinned their way through the entire song, the joy of performing it still remaining after 21 years.
A cover of 'Oh Well' by Fleetwood Mac (the pre-Stevie Nicks incarnation of the band) was the first of the night's many blues-fueled numbers. 'Mary Jane's Last Dance' featured dueling, call-and-response guitar solos between Petty and "co-captain" Mike Campbell, and 'Breakdown' included a drawn-out, well, breakdown that had Petty ad-libbing lyrics like "why don't you slide on over to me" that slowly faded out, leaving only an unlit stage.
Up next, 'Jefferson Jericho Blues' was the first of five consecutive 'Mojo' tracks, with Petty and Campbell ramping up their guitar heroics as if they were inspired by opener Buddy Guy, who put on a blistering blues clinic in his set. On the slow, driving 'Good Enough,' Campbell took an extended, intricate solo that -- thanks to his rock-star outfit and starburst Les Paul -- was reminiscent of Jimmy Page's take on 'Since I've Been Loving You' from Led Zeppelin's 'Song Remains the Same' film, which was also recorded at the Garden. After wrapping up the 'Mojo' segment with 'Running Man's Bible,' 'First Flash of Freedom' and 'I Should Have Known It,' Petty had the house lights turned on so he could see the crowd, which he repeatedly bowed to all night.
After thanking the fans once again, Petty donned an acoustic and started 'Learning to Fly' by himself, with the band following soon after. He happily let the audience take over vocal duties as the song progressed, opting to improvise lyrics between the chorus lines. For 'Don't Come Around Here No More,' lasers shone from the huge stage across the Garden, a light show that ended in a huge strobe outro while Petty and Campbell traded riffs in a foot-stomping solo.
The set closed with a hard-hitting version of 'Refugee' with the band bowing and walking offstage, leaving only a single spotlight shining Petty's microphone. With the crowd chanting his name, the band returned for its surprising-to-nobody encore, leading off with 'Running Down a Dream.'
"Are you ready? Are you ready? How loud can you be?" Petty asked the crowd, which duly responded with deafening screams. Satisfied at the volume, Petty and Campbell hit the opening notes of 'American Girl' and launched into a version of their classic that clocked in a few minutes longer than the album cut. As usual, Campbell shredded the guitar outro and the song culminated with the entire band hitting the final notes repeatedly. Once again, the Heartbreakers took to the front of the stage and bowed, having blown away everyone in the "great temple." "Thank you," Petty said before walking off for the time. "'Til we meet again, New York ..."