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  • Gig Review: Come Together - Tom Petty @ Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Auckland - 30/10/2022

Gig Review: Come Together - Tom Petty @ Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Auckland - 30/10/2022

31 Oct 2022 // A review by Roger Bowie

Tom Petty hit us like a bullet train in 1976. It was London, and prog rock was being challenged by punk. Something was wrong with rock and roll. Maybe it was broken?

And then god bless America came along with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 76 and Talking Heads in 77 and it was fresh and it was clean and it was antidote to anarchy. Positive.

The rest of course is history and so we come together yet again to celebrate great albums and great artists. With great artists showing their love for the soundtracks of their respective youths. Unless you are younger than that.

Liberty Stage’s Simone Williams and Musical Director Jol Mulholland have assembled a slightly smaller group of New Zealand luminaries tonight comprising 3 of the original The Bads (Brett, Dianne and Wayne Bell on drums), 2 Pluto's (Matthias Jordan and Milan Borich), 1 Shihad (Jon ever so good), 1 just about everybody (Mark Hughes on bass) plus one young, haunted rooster from down south, to reduce the average age, (that would be Adam Hattaway). A slightly smaller line-up, but no less prestigious, and no less impressive.

We know the drill, the album comes first, followed by the guessing game of selected hits.

Jon Toogood leads off with Refugee and then Adam Hattaway makes his Come Together debut with Here Comes My Girl. Milan Borich opens his account with Even the Losers, and in the middle of side two Dianne Swann sings You Tell Me and we have by now heard from all the featured vocalists (excluding two) who define the collaborative nature of these gigs. Adam Hattaway adds swagger and attitude, without a Shadow of a Doubt.

Damn the Torpedoes was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers third album, in 1979, Jimmy Iovine produced, and setting a production standard for the decades to come. Tom Petty moved from upstart to mainstream in a heartbreaker beat.

Ten years later, he was part of an unbelievable supergroup comprising also of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne, and called The Travelling Wilburys, and to end the first set, we are treated to two songs from that collaboration, Handle with Care and End of the Line. We are never, ever going to hear those songs played live like this. Ever again.

I said all the vocalists except two, and the second set gets underway with Brett Adams and Dianne Swann (The Bads) joining together for the song Tom Petty wrote for Stevie Nicks (lucky, lucky girl) back in 1979 before we get on to a selection from the ample discography on offer.  A song from the second album, Listen to Your Heart Gain with Brett and Dianne, multiple selections from the solo albums Wildflowers and Full Moon FeverThe Waiting from Hard Promises, a couple from Into the Great Wide Open (including Learning to Fly, co-written with Jeff Lynne), another collaboration, this time with Dave Stewart from 1985’s Southern Accents (that would be Don’t Come Around Here No More) two classics from the debut album (Breakdown and American Girl)  and of course the song which only made the greatest hits album, Last Dance with Mary Jane. And the other vocalist? Jol Mulholland Won’t Back Down.

Mike Campbell is a great guitarist. For me he was the high point of the last Fleetwood Mac concert here three years ago. Better than anyone else, especially when he played Peter Green. But tonight, we get a new take on how good Mike Campbell is. He’s almost as good as Brett Adams, that’s how good Mike Campbell is. Tonight, Brett is on fire. Call the fire brigade. His playing is just supreme. Especially when he also sings on his solitary solo offering, It’s Good to be King. It just so good that you are king, Brett.

The Come Together concept is gold. Just ask the audience. There’s no need for a standing ovation, the audience has been standing and prancing long before the gig ends. Two and a half hours of rock nostalgia flawlessly rendered.

Set List:

1. Refugee (Jon)

2. Here Comes My Girl (Adam)

3. Even the Losers (Milan)

4. Shadow of a Doubt (Adam)

5. Century City (Adam)

6. Don’t Do Me Like That (Jon)

7. You Tell Me (Dianne)

8. What Are You Doing In My Life? (Milan)

9. Louisiana Rain (Milan)

10. Handle With Care (Adam)

11. End of the Line (Adam)

12. Stop Dragging My Heart (Brett/Dianne)

13. Running Down a Dream (Dianne)

14. Listen to Her Heart (Brett/Dianne)

15. You Don’t Know How It Feels (Milan)

16. Wildflowers (Adam)

17. Mary Jane’s Last Dance (Jon)

18. The Waiting (Jon)

19. Learning to Fly (Milan)

20. I Won’t Back Down (Jol)

21. Into The Great Wide Open (Jon)

22. Breakdown (Dianne)

23. It’s Good to be King (Brett)

24. American Girl (Adam)

25. Free Falling (Jon)

26. Don’t Come Around Here No More (Milan)

Photo Credit: Chris Morgan / Morgan Creative
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