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Thoughts on Columbus, OH show from 1995

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Years and years ago I met a female friend outside Columbus, Ohio for a show on the Wildflowers tour. Looking back on it, the show was fairly unique for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. This was back before the Internet, before one learned how similar their shows were, even down to the banter, just pure enjoyment of the music on a balmy summer night.

Polaris Amphitheater had good acoustics,, thick, rich guitar sounds flowing across the lawn as we danced and grooved to the music. 

The band seemed full of energy, from the lengthy jams in Mary Jane with moody Benmont intro, to Breakdown with the hit the road jack improv and the long jams of It's Good To Be King, which was still novel at the time.

The two biggest surprises were Come On Down To My House, which rocked and Driving Down To Georgia, just two amazing blasts of music, and improvisation. I'm grateful they played both of those songs in the same night, the intensity of  both CODTMH and Driving Down with the melodic and extended bridge and over the top, intense ending.

If I remember correctly, Honey Bee was in the encore, with American Girl and the mellow farewell of Alright For Now. I wouldn't want every show to end with that little lullaby but it was special, there in the late August night.

I have fond memories of the show, I happened to catch them in the early transition from the band they were before Greatest Hits and Wildflowers and Steve and yet still quite a ways away from being whatever they are now.

Back then I knew that whatever show I saw from a new album and tour would be different from what had gone before. It wasn't as special as the first time I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers but it was a very fun evening, the new songs sounding better live and mixing in well with the older material.

I remember being on a natural high the next day, writing the set list down from memory and filing it away, it's somewhere amidst old books and knickknacks from a more innocent time.




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