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MaryJanes2ndLastDance

TPATH 40th discussion on band dynamics, effect of WF & more from other site

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This board:

http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/tom-petty-the-heartbreakers-2017-40-anniversary-tour-thread.665208/

has an interesting discussion of TPATH's 40th tour.

Someone on there posted their take on the band dynamic, how it changed after Full Moon Fever and so on, I think it and the the thread worth the read.

Here's a sample from someone called McCool but their opinion is a good read, as are others on the board. There are others posts about Stan and the changing band dynamic as well.

http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/tom-petty-the-heartbreakers-2017-40-anniversary-tour-thread.665208/page-4

"Wildflowers" songs wouldn't clash harshly with the "Full Moon Fever" material when juxtaposed next to one another in a setlist. Essentially after a few years of moving various parts around, Petty had not only a masterpiece of an album but the format for a setlist which he has used ever since which is based around the melodic material he crafted between 1989-1994, book-ended by some harder fare usually culled from his earlier successes and more recently albums such as "Mojo" and "Hypnotic Eye". So while I agree that it does make sense from a functional perspective for the band to incorporate more selections on this tour from albums like "Damn The Torpedoes" or "Long After Dark", those records and more specifically the sound of those records haven't informed the live performances of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers for a long time now. Sometimes it's hard to reheat a soufflé."

 

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That is a really good discussion with some knowledgeable fans and interesting takes. Let's get some of those people over here! Haha

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3 hours ago, High Grass Dog said:

Two other interesting links from that thread:

1. This negative 2002 concert review that, IMO, intimidated TP from taking a more adventurous approach to setlists moving forward.

2. This full band mini interview clip I had never seen before.

There is so much to unpack from that negative 2002 review I'll have to give a long winded diatribe on it in a bit when I have more time to go into the 2002 set list, the turning point of the band from 99-02 and the state they got themselves in

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I just listened to the October 2002 show from Shoreline Amphitheather - a really nice audience tape by the way - and it pretty much mirrors the setlist described in that review above.  8 songs from the latest release and no "Free Fallin' or "American Girl".  A setlist heavy on the latest album and a deep dive into the catalog.  The thing is, the audience is dead quiet and only politely clapping after the songs.  They were waiting for the hits that never came.  That kind of reception teaches the artist a thing or 2 about what the audience wants to hear.  

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^ Too bad so many great artists have yet to learn this great universal truth... :)

Or to put it slightly less... well... Ever thought how this may say more about the audience of this band than anything else... and why that may be??

There will always be excuses for being lame, and only the future to pass judgement on genius. Besides, again.. many apperently ill informed artists prosper, against all odds, in contemporary terms too.. How could they? Could it be the different between being an artist and being a overly well defined product?  (Both has "fans" by the way; I would not want my schampoo to "play another song" with the next bottle And that's  the type of familiarity logic we are told to follow in artistic terms as well?) And if so, what does that tell you?

Rhetorically and respectfully speaking. :)

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^ Slightly drunk when I wrote that.

No. Really.

Point is, though - in terms of those "thing or 2" the artist can be taught by an audience - that it's simply and only a matter of what type of artist you want to be.

There is no other universal truth to be had here - Do you want to be an artist or a traveling salesman? The answer will shape the crowd for you. Period.

This is always the case. And I can't even begin to tell you how much this is the case when an artist is already the some 27 years into an extremely succesful career, the way TP was in 2002. Thus, the point to be made, could rather be, I suppose, that by 2002, it was possibly already way passed the time, way too late for TP to try to change the formula. Withtout short term effect, that is! And that is exactly where I come in, in terms of how this is to be understood. In 2002 TP was already waist deep in whatever trail he is now more or less stuck. (It could be argued that what he decided to do about his Jeff Lynne success in a live context really did him in.) Of course, I admit and believe that he could still have made decisions on what to do about that in 2002. In a sense, it is never too late, just that the cost is gradually gonna be higher and higher, the more you are associated with one specific product. And TP was not willing to pay any short or longterm price needed to save any artistic live legacy in 2002, apparently, was not ready to change tracks in terms of what artist he wanted to be. He kept on the product side, went for hand crafted perfection only, rather than incoporating the artistic ditto that his vast cataloge screams for. He sure seemed keen on having us believed that he could still be saved, by trying to push a few contemorary/new songs unto each tour - most notably he did a real brave attempt with the Mojo tour - but it could be argued (actually nothing else could be argued), that for the most part 1) way too few new songs post WF have even been played live, let alone made it to the steady set and 2) the fixated core is too big, unshapely and too un-rotated to make any further attempt of TP's to switch into "true performing artist" mode realistic.*  And by now price, may be too high. Not until he gets too old to play this charade he chose for himself anymore, or until the vast crowds lose interest in it, will he be able to shake the weight of it, in favor for a more artistically oriented approach. Needless to say, if we will ever get to see that, if there is such a wonderful thing to be had, it will be small scale by design.** 
 

---

*It should be noted, that by 2002 TP had still to a major extent been touring on the back of his most recent albums, that is sure he had hits, but he was out to play some of the newer stuff as much as he was out to play the core - a core that was then very young and less tired and worn compared to today, shall I add. In the light of that, and in the light of what type of album The Last DJ was, it's very difficult to understand any disbelief voiced in 2002. For zombies to be disappointed is one thing, but, it's not exactly an upheaval. Rather it could be viewed as the first and last radical attempt to go elsewhere, if a rather a whimp in terms of following true. What followed since may ideed be seen as if he "learned" a lesson in 2002, whereas I just see a man underestimating the strength and possibilites in what he was doing, not being commited enough to change things and thus taking the safe way out, or back, as it were. Perhaps one could argue that the small valve he kept open after that, to vent any urge to go in an artistic direction, was the occasional rare booking of a recidency overflowing with actual and real precense.

**I would argue that TP would have an at least as good, if not indeed "better" (from a music point of view) live following, had he gone down different paths with his live shows after Dogs With Wings. That goes to say, that I personally don't think he would have had to choose mellow or small scale or "sophisticated" venues with a more mixed up, dynamic and exploring apporach to live sets. He could still have been a big arena rocker to this day. Sure, the crowds would have looked slightly different, and he may have been known among fans and critics as a slightly different act than he is today, but that is all in the expectaitons department, not in the hurtful, or impossible to sell appartment, I am truly convinced. If anyhting, to have commercial flair AND artistic integrity can't be bad, right? After all, like I've said so many times, you don't have to go all in weird just cause you rotate a handful of songs in your set from time to time. --- At the end of the day, that audience could need to learn a thing or 2 about rock'n'roll!!

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^ (Jeeze. One would be excused for thinking I was drunk, when I wrote that, as well! I wasn't. All the bad spelling and typos are due to me trying to get the message across in a hurried stream of thought fashion. With my rather anacronistic handeling of the cellphone, this clearly did not work overly well, did it. Some really bad writing. Hope you see what I'm aiming for nevertheless. Sorry!)

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4 hours ago, Shelter said:

^ (Jeeze. One would be excused for thinking I was drunk, when I wrote that, as well! I wasn't. All the bad spelling and typos are due to me trying to get the message across in a hurried stream of thought fashion. With my rather anacronistic handeling of the cellphone, this clearly did not work overly well, did it. Some really bad writing. Hope you see what I'm aiming for nevertheless. Sorry!)

You still spelt handling wrong. :)

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There were two things Tom could've done that would've changed his concerts and would've resulted in the below, in my opinion:

On May 22, 2017 at 7:13 AM, Shelter said:

He could still have been a big arena rocker to this day. Sure, the crowds would have looked slightly different, and he may have been known among fans and critics as a slightly different act than he is today, but that is all in the expectaitons department, not in the hurtful, or impossible to sell appartment, I am truly convinced.

    #1) Play a different set list every night. Play lots of hits, but also work in deep cuts. Learn how to balance the two, follow up It Ain't Nothin To Me with You Wreck Me, etc.  Or Supernatural Radio with Free Fallin'. It would take time to figure it out but would be worth it. Playing four or five Mojo songs in a row for an audience primed for greatest hits is not the right approach. The deep cuts would be fairly simple for them to learn, they're rock-n-roll songs, fairly simple for most amateurs to learn, let alone the band  who recorded them...

By introducing the unknown quantity to each concert, they would engage with a large amount of people who enjoy the unexpected in their musical experiences as well as pushing the band to new levels; what could Mike and Benmont have done if they'd have gone into every show looking forward to something different from the previous night's show? Including a generous helping of hits keeps the regular fan happy as well.

From a strictly business point of view, there would be more people willing to travel to see them or to make it a point to catch them on different nights.

#2) Turn some songs into jam-type songs like It's Good To Be King or Melinda etc. Keep things fresh musically. Maybe Free Fallin gets a piano solo one night, maybe Too Much Ain't Enough is a short punchy version one night, the next it's the longer take. 

 That's it. Keeps the casual fan happy with lots of well timed hits while engaging those who want to hear Magnolia and Swingin' and Nighwatchman. Pearl Jam successfully do this. No reason TPATH couldn't. 

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Okay so now that my work week ended I can give a nice retort back like I originally intended but as always, Shelter beats me to the punch and voices the sentiment better than I ever could. However, it's not gonna stop me from saying my piece anyway lol.

I find this whole review from a 2002 Last DJ tour interesting and how it relates to the band since 2002. It's amazing that the reviewer was saying that on said tour, no hits were played and it was a disappointing cavalcade of newer material and deeper cuts. What I don't get though is that for the that fall tour, it was for the band, the Last DJ tour and promoted as such. Period. From the outset they said they were gonna be pushing The Last DJ and Tom was doing several interviews to promote the album and even appeared on The Simpsons to promote it. Hell we even got a live DVD out of it (Live at the Olympia), that's how much the band was really trying to promote the album and what they thought of the album. Though the band would probably never admit it, I think they probably thought very highly of their effort. So we get this negative review about no hits being played when the shows from that leg of the tour were never even going to be about it. Honestly, if you wanted to see a more routine show, you had to see them in the Summer of 02 before they announced the Last DJ and you got a normal TPATH tour. However, compared to today, there was a greater balance between the hits from 89-94 to the early years. Here's the set list from the first ever show I ever went to and it just so happened to be their summer 02 tour: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/tom-petty-and-the-heartbreakers/2002/saratoga-performing-arts-center-saratoga-springs-ny-63d0be97.html

Just look at that set list: acoustic "Rebels", an 8 minute version of "Too Much Ain'rt Enough", 3 songs from Torpedoes and 3 songs from The Last DJ. It's pretty balanced compared to today. Now what I don't really understand is how did the band in just a mere 3 years transform into a greatest hits band when Echo by general consensus was successful album. They had a huge number of free downloads when they released "Free Girl Now" as a free mp3, the album only took a couple months to go gold and the three singles from that album were all top 20 hits on the Mainstream Rock Chart. And to top it all off, their 99 tour was praised for being a great show and they even got a spot on SNL for Echo to promote and on VH1s Storytellers and Behind the Music.(I think most people forget that those even exist these days lol). So when did this huge shift in media perspective and fair weather fans come from? Is it because the reviews for TDJ were bad that it detracted fair weather fans? Was the ban on that album from radio stations what made people shy away from their newer music? Or has it been how since 2002, the band has barely promoted their new material beyond their die hard fan base? It's an interesting thought.

And culminating with all of this the fact that after they tried to fight the establishment, the band has become part of it. Tom was very proud of the fact in 2002 that the tour had no corporate sponsors and that they were doing it on their own. Did the ass beating they get in the media for this crusade make them give in and bow down to Ticketmaster and Live Nation? I think it did. The band is and was big enough that even at 2002, they could've said fuck off to both of them and use local promoters and smaller venues for their shows like Mudcrutch has done. Sure they may no longer play bigger arenas but they would ultimately get full control over their destiny, their artistic license, their ticket prices and do what they want to do and not feel pressured to just stay a on a stagnant course. Just look: from 2002 to now, ticket prices for their shows have gone up a ridiculous amount. From $55 in 2002 for 11th row seats to almost $300 now. That's not just inflation, that's absurdity.  Honestly, I think after that fight, he just gave up and said you win, do what you will with it which is a damn shame because as a 12 year old kid, that album and it's message really spoke to me and gave me a connection with him as a man of principal standing up to the BS of the music industry.

So how does this all relate to today? Well after 15 years of the failed launch of trying to promote newer material, I think Tom was just beaten down by the media backlash and just said the hell with it. After that, we got to hear his music in commercials which he said he would never do (NBA Finals in 06 and I hear "American Dream Plan B" on Fox football games), kept the set list the same to cater to more fair weather fans who probably only know the hits and has gotten bored with it all. It's probably one of the main reasons why Mudcrutch eventually came to be because he saw it as an opportunity to be free from the shackles of keeping up appearances with an act now considered by 2008 to be a golden oldie.

To be honest, I don't think there's saving TPATH from becoming stale as a live act because I don't know if their heart is fully into it anymore and if you can just reverse 15 years of going through the motions. That's a quarter of their career. If they do finally call touring quits after 40 years and just decide to do residencies (which they should have just done since 2002 because it's been only die-hards since Highway Companion buying the new albums), they can at least play whatever the hell they want and we'll eat it up because that's what we want. Just think about it and how much we gush over the 97 Fillmore run. It just makes me think thank God Mudcrutch came along and gave them energy and a side outlet to be bold enough to do the amazing things they do.

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Sad as it is, it's also very interesting, and, I bet, a very accurate description. Depressing, really. Not to mention a devastating blow to the music and the integrity.

Turns out I could not voice that better. Thank you! Very well put!

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With no evidence whatsoever, maybe this tour will comprise of different set lists for each month when the next set of shows start.

Peace!

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On May 23, 2017 at 11:36 PM, martin03345 said:

If they do finally call touring quits after 40 years and just decide to do residencies (which they should have just done since 2002 because it's been only die-hards since Highway Companion buying the new albums), they can at least play whatever the hell they want and we'll eat it up because that's what we want.

 Besides new music which may be hit or miss, residencies where they can really expand, have fun, play deep cuts and not worry about playing Free Falling or I Won't Back Down are the most exciting things about TPATH in my opinion. I'd be surprised if residencies actually became deep cuts showcases and instead veer more towards rockabilly and blues covers. Still, hearing them play something different, even covers at this point is a step up in my opinion.

On May 23, 2017 at 11:36 PM, martin03345 said:

It just makes me think thank God Mudcrutch came along and gave them energy and a side outlet to be bold enough to do the amazing things they do.

 Full Moon Fever, Wildflowers and Mudcrutch were pivotal moments for Tom, following his creative instincts rewarded him tremendously, at each point renewing him and leading to some good music. I think the run from Mudcrutch through Mudcrutch 2 has some of his best songwriting and band performances. 

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On May 23, 2017 at 11:36 PM, martin03345 said:

The band is and was big enough that even at 2002, they could've said fuck off to both of them and use local promoters and smaller venues for their shows like Mudcrutch has done. Sure they may no longer play bigger arenas but they would ultimately get full control over their destiny, their artistic license, their ticket prices and do what they want to do and not feel pressured to just stay a on a stagnant course.

 It's too late now but that's a good idea. They could've announced a smaller tour as a test, stressed that they were not going to be playing Free Falling every night, that there would be some hits but also some deep cuts and some covers but don't come if you're expecting a run of hits. They could've transitioned into more of a jam band aesthetic, a daring mix of new songs, deep cuts and hits, different from night to night and see how it went, see if there'd be enough of an audience.

On May 23, 2017 at 11:36 PM, martin03345 said:

From $55 in 2002 for 11th row seats to almost $300 now. That's not just inflation, that's absurdity. 

That's terrible. I saw them in 06 but it was nowhere near that cost, I don't think. 

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On 5/25/2017 at 3:48 PM, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

With no evidence whatsoever, maybe this tour will comprise of different set lists for each month when the next set of shows start.

Peace!

Great idea that!

But.. nah. Verdict is in. And it's a bummer. According to setlist.fm.

Moreover. Reports from Bottlerock even suggest that the most hard core of TP fans joined the least interested crowds in a "silent disco" world record instead of seeing yet another installation of the TPATH exhibit.

What's next? People will start throwing themselves off cliffs?

 

 

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Maybe Tom will get a good song out of this. Too bad about the set list, oh well. 

 

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/05/28/video-why-5000-people-ignored-tom-petty-at-bottlerock-napa/

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were busy rocking the main stage on Saturday, May 27, at BottleRock Napa Valley.

Yet, a sizable portion of the crowd passed on watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer act and chose to dance to DJ music instead.

In silence.

And what a scene it was – billed as the biggest Silent Disco in the U.S.

Some 5,000 folks donned headphones – “hushphones,” actually – and listened to Big Boi and White Panda spin. To some one watching the scene, it just looked like a bunch of people dancing in silence.

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