Sometimes we are handed opportunities that can change our perspectives. Opportunities that when we look back on it, we are proud we took the chance and we will always remember that time. I’ve had a lot of opportunities come my way and they have made me who I am today. This recent opportunity though will surely have me looking back on it and reflecting with a smile. Given the chance to photograph Steve Winwood and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in Allentown will surely be something I will talk about for years to come.
This concert was the second show for the new entertainment venue in the Lehigh Valley. Which I will say is very, very nice. Opening the show was Steve Winwood who played songs from Traffic, “Dear Mr. Fantasy”, Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home”, and of course “Higher Love” and “Gimme Some Lovin’”. Steve’s band is a wrecking crew not to be messed with. This group of musicians brought the music alive, while Steve’s vocals were spot on. I’m not sure what he does to keep his voice in shape, but if you see Steve Winwood listen to how clean and clear his vocals are. That only set the mood for the rest of the night.
Tom Petty, what else can I say. I’m not going to sit here and give the typical review saying he played this song and this song. We know he played “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”, “I Won’t Back Down”, “Free Fallin’”, etc, just look online for the set list. What I want to say is how amazing he played. I’m only 27 years old, seeing Tom Petty when he was younger was impossible for me. I know older fans might complain he can’t do this or that anymore, but for someone seeing him for the first time, I was blown away. You could’ve told me Tom Petty was 40 and I would’ve believed you. He was moving around the stage almost the entire time! Not once was I bored watching. Also he is a great front man because he knew how to get the crowd wound up. Going to each corner of the stage and looking at the crowd and motioning to make noise. Also his vocals were crisp and clear. Steve Winwood and Tom Petty have a secret as to how they keep their vocals well oiled, I’m convinced. My favorite part about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is that they play like they are playing a small venue. Even when they came on stage, it wasn’t clean and clear, you heard them plug in, you heard the drummer check his drums out, the murmurs, etc. It wasn’t this perfect polished show. It showed that Tom Petty is still rock n’ roll. I am used to bands playing raw and having their instruments make some little breathing noises in between songs. It shows they are still human and for how big Tom Petty is, it showed to me that he is still a regular guy playing music for the love of music. Lastly, and this took me by surprise, was how loud Tom’s guitar and the Heartbreakers’ instruments were. Now, I’ve seen The Who live and they say they are the loudest band, which they are, but Tom Petty is a close second. I’m pretty sure you could hear him outside, and the crowd’s applause was also deafening. Overall, my next day at work, I told everyone Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is a band you don’t want to miss live. I don’t know how much touring he has in his system, but I hope there is more to come. My regret that I wish to correct is not buying my parents tickets to the show. It would’ve been a family moment to remember. Here is to hoping Tom Petty makes his way back to Allentown.