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Outside Lands Main Event: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

on August 24, 2008, 1:50pm

As the sky began to darken and many exhausted festival goers dabbled in the though of an early exit home, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers grabbed the main stage on the second evening of Outside Lands. Although a few people managed to escape Golden Gate Park, the 57-year-old, Florida native did indeed turn many around, enticing them to stay with an 18 song set of fan favorites, b-side gems, and even a cover of Van Morrison’s “Gloria.”

Overall, the Tom Petty experience was surprisingly chill. With less people in attendance than at Radiohead’s show the previous night, the atmosphere was much simpler and more enjoyable for everyone. All around people were dancing and sharing blankets with friends. It was truly a sight to see. No one had a care in the world. They just wanted to rock out and hang around with friends a little bit longer.

The concert brought in people of all ages and was the perfect way to welcome in the chilly nighttime air, after a long and tiring day of walking. Couples held hands while swaying to the music, as others drank beer and soaked in the country inspired American rock that blasted through the surrounding speakers. It was the type of show you go to with friends for the pure prospects of having a good time. In fact, many people separated into little individual corners and had their own private blanket parties, which was charmingly sweet.

default Outside Lands Main Event: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers smashed onto the stage clad in nice dinner jackets. Behind them was a light set up that was subtle, but pretty as it slowly formed into the shape of a giant circular sphere similar to a disco ball. There were many screens on top and around the stage featuring different members of the band rocking out, so that even those too far to see could at least appreciate the band overwhelming enthusiasm. About 15 minutes in,  Petty dedicated “Free Falling” to all the lovers in the crowd and everyone screamed and hollered. Afterwards, Petty awkwardly started to play and then stopped a few times; raising his hands high in the air in an attempt to get the crowd to focus on the stage and cheer him on. A few songs later the band stopped playing and announced that they had to take a five minute break. The difficulties experienced by Radiohead the evening before appeared to show their ugly faces once more.

Apparently there was a problem with the P.A. system, which Petty claimed was about to blow. The crowd was let down and the minutes passed like hours in silence. As the five minute mark passed, some even began to loose faith and began to  clear the field. Eventually, the band was able to fix the problem and within 10-15 minutes were back on stage. This time around, Petty brought along Steve Winwood who jammed out with the band for renditions of “Can’t Find My Way Home” and “Gimme Some Lovin'”. After sharing some vocal duties, Winwood departed, leading way to the second-half of set, which offered a continuation of the dance-friendly rock fun.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers performance at day two of Outside Lands could best be described as exceptional. With their bluesy harmonica and honky-tonk rock music, the band proved to be exactly what everyone wanted to hear. People were tired, but not quite ready to depart. They were waiting for an experience that would allow them to take a load off their feet and relax for a bit, while still having fun. And that’s exactly what they got.

Setlist:
01. You Wreck Me
02. Listen to Her Heart
03. I Won’t Back Down
04. Even the Losers
05. Free Fallin’
06. Mary Jane’s Last Dance
07. End of the Line (Traveling Wilburys)
08. Can’t Find My Way Home (w/ Steve Winwood)
09. Gimme Some Lovin’ (w/ Winwood)
10. Saving Grace
11. Breakdown
12. Honey Bee
13. Learning to Fly
14. Don’t Come Around Here No More
15. Refugee
Encore:
16. Running Down a Dream
17. Gloria (Them/Van Morrison)
18. American Girl

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Pictures via Crowdfire.com

default Outside Lands Main Event: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

default Outside Lands Main Event: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

default Outside Lands Main Event: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

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