Perhaps I’ve written more blogs here about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers than any other band/musician–including my beloved Pearl Jam–but there’s a reason for that: they’re amazing. And this has been a beautiful and difficult year. On my “TO SEE BEFORE I DIE LIST” were the following:
Temple of the Dog (July, 2016, still paying interest, don’t care)
R.E.M. (that will probably never happen, since they dis-banded.) sigh
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (July, 2017, thank God.)
Bruce Springsteen (yet to happen; he’s nearby, but I’m broke)
Collective Soul (September 2017)
And, always, again, Pearl Jam and Tool, without a doubt.
Bands that weren’t on my to see before I die list, but I’m ever grateful for seeing them:
Devin Townsend Project
A Perfect Circle
Smashing Pumpkins (twice, once in the old days before the first break up; got to shake James’ hand; once with Zwan–met Billy!, once with the 2nd formation of SP)
Tori Amos (2013, and I’d do it again, and again, and again…)
Other acts I’ve seen:
Queens of the Stone Age
Third Eye Blind
Goo Goo Dolls
Tons of bands I saw during festivals…
Lots of live, local bluegrass
An assortment of local bands
I got to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on their farewell…a last hurrah…and it was incredible. Just writing that sentence made me a little weepy. I was listening to Full Moon Fever today, and, nowadays, when I hear him, I talk to him. During “Alright for Now” I always smile. I know he’s up there, rocking out, still, with all of the other greats that went before.
And sometimes, I don’t feel so sad. In numerous interviews I’ve watched over the years, one thing was clear: Tom Petty always wanted to be a rock and roll musician, and that’s what he was, what he devoted his life to, and that…that’s amazing. Yeah, he died at only 66. But you know? You could die older and a lot more miserable. He went out doing exactly what he loved, and it was as if the universe said, alright, Tom. You’ve done your work here.
As for the rest of us, we still have work to do. What, if you were like young Mr. Petty, is your heart devoted to, no matter how improbable? I want you to think about that. Make it yours. Tom did. As for the present, I guess we’re alright for now.
Thank you, Tom.