Concert: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers w/ Steve Winwood

Wednesday, July 16

click to enlarge Tom Petty - Dennis Callahan
Dennis Callahan
Tom Petty

It's long been my belief that it's nigh impossible for artists who write their own songs to come up with new music of substance after age 50. Tom Petty proved an exception with Highway Companion, his last solo album, released in '06, when he was 55. The disc is vintage Petty, not a masterpiece but a rock-solid addition to his canon. That disc dovetails with a sort of rebirth for the Gainesville native; his recent tours have been energized; he looks happier and healthier and is more animated on stage. His vocal chops are strong. Petty's band the Heartbreakers is every bit the well-oiled machine, with guitarist Mike Campbell continuing to show his eclectic mastery. Unlike Springsteen's ever-growing menagerie of players, Petty's group numbers six, only one more than when they were founded in 1976. With no brand new album out, Petty and company are free to roam a catalogue that includes 18 full-lengths and dozens of hits. The evening's opening act is Steve Winwood, who I liked as part of Traffic, but, when I finally saw him at Jannus Landing, came off as some sort of blank-faced Stepford artist. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers w/Steve Winwood, 7:30 p.m. Wed., July 16, St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa. $29.50, $55, $99.75. sptimesforum.com.

Eric Snider

Eric Snider is the dean of Bay area music critics. He started in the early 1980s as one of the founding members of Music magazine, a free bi-monthly. He was the pop music critic for the then-St. Petersburg Times from ‘87-’93. Snider was the music critic, arts editor and senior editor of Weekly Planet/Creative...
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