Saturday, 2 March 2013

Albums for Life: Joint 43: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers/Nils Lofgren: I Came to Dance

'Cheat' I hear you cry!
'Two for one' my reply.
And with good reason.
I saw these two acts as a double bill way back in 1978 and it still remains one of my top 5 gigs of all time.

Tom Petty cut an androgenous figure back in those days, he had a toothsome All American beauty that was compelling to both sexes. And didn't he know it; lack of confidence has never been part of the Petty make up. He strutted and pouted his way through this great set of songs as if he were performing to his own bedroom mirror.
They called it 'post punk' in those days; incredible as it would now be labelled old school 'Americana', maybe even just 'Rock'. The Heartbreakers would go on to become one of the great backing bands of the 80s & 90's, eventually working their way up the totem to Dylan, but here they were desperate to just shake a few trees and make us notice them.
Mission accomplished; 'Follow that' I thought as they they were dragged off after several encores.
Then on bounced Nils Lofgren with a wry smile. He proceeded to whip us up into a greater frenzy; he span in circles as he solo'd and then somersaulted on a trampoline without missing a note. I was recently reminded of his flipping spinning dervish thing when he pulled it out of retirement during a Springsteen song on the recent tour. From 4.14 onwards he whips himself into a euphoric frenzy which borders on blissful ecstasy; once seen never forgotten.
Then there's a reprise of 'the flip'.
Warning: I tried 'the flip' recently at a children's birthday party, egged on by a bunch of 10 year olds and with my ambition sharpened by a few 'sharpeners', indeed holding a full pint at the time.
It didn't go well...

These two albums were the then current releases and I still can't play them (or  Lofgren's previous 'Cry Tough') without beaming at the remembrance of that intoxicating evening.


  1. Saw The Heartbreakers supporting Dylan, and being his backing band. Great gig. The lowlight was an insipid opening slot by Roger McGuinn.
    Strangely, the highlight was the return of McGuinn at the end to lead Heartbreakers, Dylan et al in a brilliant reworking of Eight Miles High. I'm off to Youtube to see if I can reprise the moment..

  2. Yup, they used to wheel McGuinn out as the Garndpappy of country rock and he never ceased to disappoint... maybe it's because he wasn't Gram...