I think it was when Rolling Stone put out its Top 100 albums of the rock 'n' roll era that I noticed Tom Petty getting short shrift in the accolade department. "How could The B-52s be on the list and not Damn the Torpedoes?" I wondered, sometimes loudly, through gritted teeth.
To call Petty an underrated artist in the rock pantheon might be an overstatement, but not much of one. In the '70s, when punk was sticking a safety pin in the rock establishment bubble, Petty came along with a lean, back-to-basics sound - kind of like punk rock, only better. And then he kept it up through the '80s and a good chunk of the '90s. While Petty's recent material has not achieved commercial heights, it's still quality stuff.
Oh, and one more thing: While they're not overly demonstrative performers, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers always put on a very engaging show.
Oh, and another thing: Instead of opening with some baby act plucked from the record label roster, we get the Black Crowes, those veteran kings of Southern hippie R&B. Chris Robinson's pothead persona may get tiresome, but he's still a helluva singer and animated stage presence. Plus, give him his propers for being a mutt who landed the hot chick.
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, w/The Black Crowes, 7 p.m. Fri., June 10, Ford Amphitheatre, Tampa. Tickets: $59/$29. Go to www.tampabayamp.com.