Live Footage: Tome Petty and the Heartbreakers, 1985

It's been a good year for concerts, at least for me. I've seen some of my favorite bands live this past year, and some of truly amazing concert events. I'm going to a few more coming this spring (reviews will be written I'm pretty sure) and recently purchased some tickets for another concert or two and that got me thinking: What makes a concert special enough that I keep going to them?

And so as I pondered that I came up with something that always makes a concert special. The musicianship, set list, what band it is, throw all that aside, because if the performance can really bring the audience into the performance, the feel, the moment... then that audience is going to be left feeling great and the show will be amazing.

Well, truth be told, I actually don't go around thinking about why I go to concerts all that often... that was just an anecdote that I embellished and/or made up. It was a good (ok, mediocre at best... it's been a slow spell for writing) introduction to the videos I wanted to exhibit today though.

This pair of videos are from a 1985 concert with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and both are great songs, and pretty stellar versions too... Oh and talk about atmosphere.

Here's "Refugee":

Yes, this is normally where the video would appear, but these particular videos have the "embed" function disabled on Youtube. Inconvenient yes... but oh well. Special thanks still go out, etc etc, as this is some of the best Tom Petty concert footage I've seen in a while. I searched and searched for alternate versions and alternate uploads, but I really like these two so I'm sharing them anyways and trusting that you'll be able to click the link, view the video and come back for more... enjoy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTeNhhm2v58

And here's "Breakdown":

See above...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNxfPAF1frM

I don't remember exactly when I first saw clips from this show. I remembered them though and am glad to have them available for people to see because they really illustrate this idea of "drawing the crowd in" that I mentioned in my amazing introduction. Yes the performances are great and these are easily two of Tom Petty's best songs (in my opinion at least they're two of my favorites), but there's something else too. It's like the band, the lighting, the setup, the arrangement... all of that...takes the feel of the songs and turns them up to 11. And that feel is contagious, it draws the audience in... and I'm not just talking about how the crowd sings a good portion of "Breakdown". You can actually see and feel it in these clips... it's almost palpable, and that's in a video! The crowd is engaged and part of the performance, putting energy back into the system, not just sitting there and watching and the band is drawing on that to up their game and create an all enveloping atmosphere.

Tom Petty is a great performer... actually a great musician in general in my opinion... and you can really see that in these clips as well. Charisma abounds and it's pretty obvious that the crowd left feeling satisfied and like they saw one heck of a good concert.

That's what a great performer does. It may seem obvious, but as someone who goes to see a lot of concerts I can't tell you how many bands fall short when playing live. It isn't that they lack something that Petty has etc as it isn't always the same thing that draws the crowd in... plus at some shows, well the crowd is just dead and resisting the whole way. The artists that do put on a great live show though... well those concerts are truly magical and are the reason I go to so many... like so many others out there, I really dig the atmosphere and the energy of a great rock and roll show.

Anyways enough rambling... I hope you enjoy the Tom Petty concert footage... great stuff. Oh, and there are more clips on YouTube from this same show in 1985, some real gems too, so feel free to check them out as I think you'll enjoy them as well.

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