Tom Petty, The Strokes

Tom Petty, The Strokes

Tom Petty/ The Strokes

Gainesville, FL • Sept. 21, 2006

Strokes- Julian Casablancas

Jen Cray
Strokes- Julian Casablancas

It’s been 13 years since Tom Petty had played for his hometown of Gainesville, FL. His big return to the University of Florida’s Stephen O’Connell Center was an event-and-a-half when The Strokes and- unannounced- special guest Stevie Nicks were added to the bill. The 9,000+ tickets sold out in under 10 minutes time, and the streets were lined with cries for tickets. Inside, the young and hip mingled with the been there/done that’s of the Petty generation.

Taking a humble step down from their own headlining sold-out tour across the world, NYC darlings The Strokes casually came onto the dimly lit stage and opened with “Is This It?” off of their groundbreaking debut of the same name. The band- when last I saw them (in 2004), had energy to spare and put on a memorable show that involved vocalist Julian Casablancas climbing a stack of speakers onto the second floor balcony where he hovered above the crowd- suffered from a lack of momentum from the largely “we’re only here for Tom” crowd on the floor. As their set rolled on and they threw out such pieces of pop perfection as “Hard To Explain,” “Reptilia” and “Juicebox” the crowd began to come around and the arena felt a little more intimate.

The Strokes

Jen Cray
The Strokes

Casablancas was noticably more relaxed than during past performances, wandering around the stage during solos and even dancing a bit while he sang the catchier parts of tunes like “You Only Live Once.” He also repeatedly expressed how honored the band felt to be on a bill with the man whose song “American Girl,” he has previously admitted directly inspired the melody to “Last Nite” (a song that was, strangely, left off of the evening’s setlist). The Strokes are a club band whose cool exterior is best felt in a tight setting. As perfect as they sounded I couldn’t help but wish that they were back in the dark, drunken (did I mention the Stephen O’Connell Center is alcohol free?!) confines of the House of Blues.

Gainesville loves their hometown boy. When the great, and largely underrated, Tom Petty walked out with his band, The Heartbreakers, it was several minutes before the audience allowed their cheers to fade and the man to sing. Overwhelmed was the dominant emotion in Petty’s eyes for the night as his smile widened and he gazed around at his supporters, friends and fans. Earlier in the afternoon he was presented, by the Mayor of Gainesville, with a key to the city as well as a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from UF. Not a bad way to come home!

Tom Petty

Jen Cray
Tom Petty

“It’s great to be back home… I look around and I see a lot of memories,” he said.

From very early on in the set the band offered up the old favorites (the second song was “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and “Free Fallin'” soon followed) alongside the new stuff from Highway Companion. They even tossed in a Travelling Wilbury’s song, “Handle With Care.” But the highlight for this, the only Florida date on the band’s big 30th Anniversary tour- a tour that Petty says may be his last with the full band- was when he brought out “honorary Heartbreaker” Stevie Nicks.

Though the former Fleetwood Mac vocalist has been appearing throughout the tour, most of the audience had no idea this was coming, so imagine the response. Absolute adoration and shock- a woman behind me was throwing herself against the front row barricade screaming her bloody head off! It was one of those moments you hope for when you attend a concert. When the two legends broke into a gorgeous duet on “Stop Draggin My Heart Around” it was five minutes of heaven.

Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty

Jen Cray
Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty

If you couldn’t get into this hot ticket show, worry not- it was being recorded and broadcast over radio stations all over the country, and videotaped for both an upcoming A&E tv special and a film being put together by Peter Bogdanovich.

To see more photos of this and other shows, go to www.jencray.com.

www.tompetty.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

  • Demons/Demons 2
    Demons/Demons 2

    Synapse Films reissues Lamberto Bava’s epic ’80s gore-filled movies Demons and Demons 2 in beautiful new editions.

  • Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson
    Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson

    Searching for the Disappearing Hour (Pyroclastic Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Payal Kapadia
    Payal Kapadia

    Earlier this year, director Payal Kapadia was awarded the Oeil d’or (Golden Eye) for best documentary at the 74th Cannes Film Festival for her debut feature, A Night of Knowing Nothing. Lily and Generoso interviewed Kapadia about her poignant film, which employs a hybrid-fiction technique to provide a personal view of the student protests that engulfed Indian colleges and universities during the previous decade.

  • Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

    A classic children’s tale re-imagined by America’s greatest composers.

From the Archives