Tom Petty puts on one of the best shows in Rock and Roll, which is why I saw him so many times in my concert going heyday. The first time was after his Southern Accents album, long ago now, but Petty and the Heartbreakers already had a great body of work to draw performances from. A huge Confederate flag graced the stage behind them on this tour, but was abandoned by a slightly more politically accommodating Petty by the time of the next tour, supporting the Let Me Up album. I remember him singing It'll All Work Out from that album to only a smattering of applause , compared to some of the big hits he was doing. Petty kind of mumbled, "I think that is one of the best songs I ever wrote, but I guess it's just me."
The next time I saw him he shared the ticket with Bob Dylan. Petty and the Heartbreakers opened the show with a pared down version of one of their concerts, and then backed up Dylan for the balance of the show. Dylan was in fine form, playing some songs with just his own guitar and harmonica, and some with full Heartbreaker backing, which blended wonderfully.
The last time I saw Petty he was the headliner of a Rock'n'roll Caravan tour with a few other bands; the only one I remember was the Georgia Satellites. (They kinda sucked.) It was a good show, but the main thing I remember was that I had a horrible poison ivy patch, a welt the size of a frying pan on my thigh. It was weepy so I had to patch over it with paper towels and tape, and wear the baggiest pants I could find: my Dad's brown dress pants. So needless to say, I was far from comfortable, and far from the hippest lookin' cat at the show-but hey-the things we do for Rock and Roll!