Title: Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – Live In Concert
Released: Image Entertainment
Duration: 00:54:34 + 00:54:31
Video codec: AVC
Audio Codec: DTS-HD MA, LPCM
Video: MPEG-4 AVC Video, 21994 kbps, 1080i / 29,970 fps / 16:9 / High Profile 4.1
Audio # 1: LPCM Audio, 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Audio # 2: DTS-HD Master Audio, 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2924 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Size: 22.93 GB
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have been playing and releasing recordings since 1976, and even more astonishing than their longevity is the fact that most members of the band are the same today as when they first assembled in Gainesville, Florida thirty-five years ago. Even the occasional solo venture and Petty’s brief adventure with Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and George Harrison under the name “The Traveling Wilburys” failed to deter the band from its appointed mission, which appears to have been to play old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll, solid blues and country rock for as long as they can stand, shout and move their fingers.
I confess to being only an occasional Heartbreakers fan, collecting the random single and waking up in particular during the brief career of the Wilburys. But one would have to be deaf and blind not to be aware of Tom Petty’s presence in American popular music of the last quarter of the 20th Century. If nothing else, the unmistakable twang of his singing voice has a music all its own (and was once deliciously parodied on SNL, which devoted an entire sketch to an imaginary conversation between Petty and Bob Dylan, both of whom spoke in unintelligible slurs).
The roughly two-hour concert on this disc, denominated “Episode 1” and “Episode 2”, are part of the Soundstage series presented on PBS by Chicago’s local station, WTTW, in partnership with HD Ready, LLC. Both episodes bear 2003 copyright dates and, as far as I can tell, both are derived from the same concert, which was part of the first season of the revived Soundstage series. Both appear to have been broadcast together in July 2003, which was the year after Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The concert was released in 2005 by Koch Vision on a two-disc DVD set that is now out of print. In 2008, Koch briefly acquired rights to several Soundstage concerts for Blu-ray, but this title was never generally available. A few Blu-ray.com members reported finding copies of the Hearbreakers concert on Blu-ray at Sears, and at least according to Koch’s published specifications, the disc included nine bonus tracks.
Image now has the rights to the Soundstage series, and the Heartbreakers concert is the latest of its releases. The disc may not contain any bonus tracks, but it can be easily found, and it looks and sounds terrific.
The performers are band leader Tom Petty on lead vocals and guitar; founding member Mike Campbell on lead guitar and mandolin; founding member Ron Blair on bass and backing vocals; founding member Benmont Tench on keyboards and backing vocals; Scott Thurston on rhythm guitar, harmonica, synthesizer and backing vocals; and drummer Steve Ferrone (“our own jet engine”, Petty calls him).
Fans looking for a “greatest hits” style of concert will be disappointed, because many of the band’s most familiar songs are missing, including such standards as “American Girl”, “Breakdown”, “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and “Into the Great Wide Open”. Petty even notes in his brief introduction to some of the songs that they’re selections the band doesn’t frequently perform. Still, it’s clear from the reactions of fans near the stage that the cameras catch mouthing the words to every song that true Heartbreakers fans should recognize every “B” side and lesser-known album filler here. And whatever they’re playing, this band pulls out all the stops.
Some numbers are familiar, though. The Heartbreakers provide Petty with a credible substitute for the Traveling Wilburys on a rendition of “Handle Me with Care” (though it’s hard to compensate for the absence of Roy Orbison from that vocal collaboration). Their renditions of “Refugee” and “I Won’t Back Down” are, if anything, better than the official recordings. The wonderful piano solo performed by Tench on “Melinda” is a showstopper.
Other than introducing the band and saying a few words about the songs, Petty doesn’t spend much time talking to the audience. He prefers communicating through music. It’s clearly what he and these players do best.
 Baby Please Don’t Go
 Crawling Back To You
 Handle With Care
 I Won’t Back Down
 I’m Cryin’
 Angel Dream
 Born In Chicago
 Red Rooster
 Love Is A Long Road
 You Don’t Know How It Feels
 Black Leather Woman
 Done Somebody Wrong
 I Got A Woman
 Thirteen Days
 Wake Up Time
 Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms
 Lost Children
 Two Men Talkin’
 You Wreck Me
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