Last night, Los Angeles saw one of its music icons return home as Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers took the stage for the first of three shows at the Hollywood Bowl to celebrate the band's 40th anniversary. Now don't get me wrong - Tom was born and raised in Gainsville, Florida but even he admits that Los Angeles is his true home.
The set kicked off with a couple of bumps as Mike Campbell had to switch guitars in the middle of "Mary Jane's Last Dance", but got right on track as Tom basked in the joy of playing in front of the sold out crowd. He included the usual favorites like "Refugee", "Runnin' Down A Dream", and wrapped up his encore with the classic "American Girl". Tom requested a sing-a-long on "Free Fallin'" and the crowd obliged, singing "living in Reseda" and "move west down Ventura Boulevard" with more vigor than the song's trademark chorus. He also threw in deep cuts like "Forgotten Man", a track many missed from his most recent album Hypnotic Eye but fits beautifully into his canon.
One of the most underrated songwriters and vocalists of our time helped open as Lucinda Williams and her band played a strong set of songs old and new.
In all, it was a celebratory night and Tom thanked the crowd numerous times for their support. 40 years have passed, but Tom is still having the time of his life playing tunes with his best friends. The 2nd show tonight is sold out, but tickets remain for Monday's tour finale at Ticketmaster.