Share This Page

Petty's simple approach enthralls fans at Consol

| Friday, June 21, 2013, 7:21 a.m.
Jack Fordyce
Tom Petty performing at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA Thursday, June 20 2013.
Jack Fordyce
Tom Petty performing at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA Thursday, June 20 2013.
Jack Fordyce
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA Thursday, June 20 2013.
Jack Fordyce
Tom Petty performing at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA Thursday, June 20 2013.
Tom Petty performing at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA Thursday, June 20 2013.
Jack Fordyce
Mike Campbell and Tom Petty perfoming at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA Thursday, June 20, 2013.
Jack Fordyce
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA Thursday, June 20 2013.
Jack Fordyce
Mike Campbell and Tom Petty perfoming at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA Thursday, June 20, 2013.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers gave fans a night of good, clean, classic rock and roll at Consol Energy Center on June 20, when the music and the band's charisma provided the entertainment largely without the accompanying frills.

Compared to many rock concerts today, with their high-tech visual effects and theatrics, Petty's show could be considered dull. A red curtain provided the lone backdrop for the stage, which had no props or decorations, just instruments and speakers. Occasional lighting effects were about the only complements to the music.

Yet Petty's understated style might be one of his best assets. Without all of the extras, listeners focus on live music that, with warm and energetic performers, stands alone as great entertainment.

Petty, clad in a purple shirt under a black overcoat and vest, gets much of his stage charisma from his beaming smile. The show had little to no dancing, but Petty regularly walked from one end of the stage to the other flashing a big, satisfying grin at the audience and waving. Petty — still with his signature long, straight hair — does not look like he is in his early 60s. His appearance and voice could belong to someone at least 10 years younger. His voice sounds mostly like it did a few decades ago with few signs of aging.

Petty's two-hour set covered many of his biggest hits since the 1970s — including '80s favorites “I Won't Back Down” and “Free Fallin,' ” which had the mostly middle-aged audience pumping their arms and singing the “Hey baby!” and “Freeeee!” refrains from the spirited anthems.

Only hard-core, well-versed Petty fans, would have recognized every song in the set, though, as he swapped out a few hits for lesser-known, even obscure album cuts. Few remembered “Tweeter and the Monkey Man,” from the album “Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1” in 1988.

During largely acoustic periods in the middle of the show, the audience fell almost silent, as people curiously listened to the unrecognized song. The concert offered a course in Petty-ology history, along with fans' favorite songs.

Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at kgormly@tribweb.com or 412-320-7824.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.