Here's my ticket from the first time I saw Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in concert. It was just after the start of senior year of high school. I walked home from school that day in the rain wearing a pair of knock-off Converse Chuck Taylors which ended up giving me quarter-sized blisters on my heels. Brian picked me up in his car, one that had (I think) a Wienerschnitzel antenna topper on it. Women were CRAZY about us back then.
We drove to Phoenix through a haboob, which is a terrifying thing to do, but who the hell is going to let a giant cloud of sand and wind stop them from seeing Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers? We got to Phoenix early and ate at Alice Cooper's restaurant across the venue while we waited for the arena’s doors to open. We watched the haboob that we had driven through an hour before as it now blew through downtown Phoenix.
Inside the venue, we headed towards the section of the arena where our seats were located, but something didn't look right. We approached cautiously. The event employee standing guard at the entrance to the section informed us that when tickets went on sale, they were under the impression that the stage would be at the center of the floor, allowing for 360° views of the band. They then learned that was not the case, and that the stage would be at one end of the arena, which meant our view would be non-existent. Now, we were welcome to keep our original seats, orrrrrrrr... we could take the floor seats they were offering us in exchange.
I think if it was anybody but Tom Petty, Brian and I would've kept the original seats because THAT'S the funnier thing to do.
Humor was not our priority that evening, though.
So we sat in our floor seats and watched the band just destroy the place. I stood on my feet too long, even after most of the floor had taken their seats to watch the show. BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO SIT WHEN YOU’RE ON THE FLOOR. (17-year-olds are stupid). Hit after hit, magnificent pop song after magnificent pop song. It was non-stop. I think it even included a cover of Bo Diddley’s “Mona,” or I’ve conflated that with the live concert DVD that was later released which documented one of the show’s (not ours) on that tour. The show was something, to say the least. And he always was something each time I saw him live after that. Because Tom Petty is as dependable as it fucking gets.
A couple years ago, I remember telling someone I was quite fond of that I thought Tom Petty was our one hope for world peace because there's a Tom Petty song out there for everyone. His catalog is so amazing that there is SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE. He could bring us all together, I told her. He could do that.