Breakdown…Live

Tom Petty of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers seen at KAABOO 2017 at the Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in San Diego, Calif. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

I’m sitting here this afternoon thinking about moments in my life that were scored or narrated by the words and music of Tom Petty.

I remember at first lumping him in with Southern Rock bands because he had that southern vibe about him, but his music evolved over the years…along with me.

I only got to see Tom Petty once…It was Bon Secours Wellness Arena (Bi-Lo Center back then) in the radio station suite because I had to see him live.

We watched in rapt attention as the church lights over the crowd ebbed and flowed and I tell this story a lot.

There are moments in live music that are transcendent…At one moment in the show the stage lights go to black…All that is left to hear is the surge and skitter of an organ.

A low follow spot trails Petty across the floor…”Let’s see what we have here” he says as he walks up to a chest…kicks it open and flames shoot out…He steps back smiles at the crowd and reaches into the flames…and pulls out a top hat.

Don’t Come Around Here No More starts up as he puts on the top hat…If the roof had flown away in that moment it would not have surprised or dismayed me.

I still get goosebumps thinking about that moment…today the good vibes remain, but I’m sad that he’s gone.

I love the moment I have some extra time on the air some days…You’re running 4 or 5 minutes short on an hour and you could play another song…Or you could drop a song and play Breakdown Live from Pack up the Plantation.

“You guys are gonna put me out of a job”

Doc

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