Aplscruf's Music, Art, and Literature Blog

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers May 5, 1995

This was a most memorable concert and one of the few I documented from the nineties. 

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

The Gorge Amphitheatre

May 5, 1995

My thirtieth year is turning out pretty well.   Once again I attended a concert and renewed my youth.  I bought the tickets back in February after watching VH1 advertise a chance to buy tickets in advance to any Petty concert in the country.  I decided to call and give it a try [I don’t think online tickets were even invented yet!].  I knew our friends in Sunnyside would love to go, so I bought four tickets.  As it turned out, our friend’s brother and sister-in-law were also planning on going.  We met at their house in Sunnyside on Friday.  The concert didn’t start until 8:30, so we had plenty of time to chat and relax before driving the hour or so to the Gorge. 

The concert was sold out!  We had seats in the 25th row.  I wanted  to take binoculars, but as it turned out, we were fairly close and near the middle of the stage. 

We ended up leaving fairly late.  By the time we slowly drove to the grassy parking lot, the sun was almost down.  We missed the opening band, The Jayhawks [now kicking self].  None of us had heard of them anyway, so it was no big loss [kicking self again as I write this in 2010]. 

We sat in the car a while and had some beer.  Unfortunately, they bought some “good” beer without screw caps and we did not bring a bottle opener.  We had to ask our neighbors in the car next to ours.  It was our friend’s wife’s duty, since, she was closest.  She was slightly buzzed, but she used her very courteous voice as she asked, “Pardon me, but I couldn’t help but notice you were drinking Guinness, and that you would need a bottle opener to drink them.  We are without one ourselves…we were wondering if we could borrow yours?”  Out came the Swiss Army knife, passed through the car windows! 

We sat there for a while longer, then grabbed our packs of rain gear and warm clothes, one last beer, and started the trek toward the gate.  We had close to a quarter of a mile to go from the car to the seats.  When we reached the gate, we were herded through like drunken cattle.  Hundreds of us had to squeeze though a small gate, and were then searched and patted down, one by one.  We didn’t bring anything with us except pop and lots of warm clothes.  There were rumors there would be thunderstorms that night.  I couldn’t imagine how miserable it would be if it rained.  We lucked out…it was windy and overcast, but quite warm, and it never rained.

It was barely light when we arrived in the main part of the amphitheatre, but there must have been 20,000 people there!  The amphitheatre is made of terraced rock/cement and grass and extends up to the sky.  It was a wall of people.  Down below somewhere, were our seats (folding chairs), which were on the “floor”.  We had no chance in hell of finding our friend’s brother; they had lawn seating.

The first thing we did was hit the Honey Buckets.  There were about 10 people waiting in front of each one.  People became impatient and started shouting at the people going in.  They would say things like, “Go, Purple Hat Guy!” and “Go, Blond Woman!”  There were cheers when they exited. 

Anyway, we went to find our seats among the throngs of people.  I picked up a t-shirt along the way for 25 bucks [Wildflowers]; a rip-off, but I needed a souvenir.  We got to our row, but our friend’s seats were not there!  The stupid employees miscounted the seats and came up two short.  We yelled at every security guard and employee there to try to figure out where our friends were going to sit.  Unfortunately, they were all about 20 years old and they had no idea how to solve the problem.  Finally, one person brought us two extra chairs, but we had no place to put them.  If we put them on the end of the row, we would be blocking the aisle.  We stood around for about 20 minutes, then ended up just using one of the chairs and standing.  We ended up standing the entire show, so it didn’t matter too much.

About 10 minutes later Tom and the Heartbreakers entered the stage!  The massive crowd cheered.  He opened with a song from Hard Promises…The Waiting, then Running Down a Dream from Full Moon Fever, and You Don’t Know How It Feels off the new Wildflowers album.   The crowd was really receptive of the new material.  Also played: You Wrecked Me,/Refugee/It’s Good to be King/Listen to Her Heart/Mary Jane’s Last Dance/Free Fallin’/ Honey Bee/Time to Move On/American Girl/Alright for Now and then some new ones, not yet recorded: a little ditty about girls he had who did drugs and other substances (ex: I had a girl who drank coffee/I couldn’t get her off me), a song about Georgia with great guitar licks from Mike Campbell.  I remember one part of the chorus about the peaches hangin’ from the tree, with his own limbs outstretched.  I also sang a cover of I Just Wanna Make…Love to You.  They sounded excellent!  The choice of music wasn’t my favorite; I would have preferred more old stuff, but the whole reason for this concert was to promote his newest album.  Still, it was a great concert.

Tom sported a beard and a brown blazer with a denim shirt and jeans.  He wore a cool silver-buckled belt that he wore over the shirt.  The rest of the band wore mainly black. 

After a few songs, P and I headed to the bathrooms.  After the long trek, we headed down to the gate near the front of the stage, on the right side.  We had to prove that we had our reserved tickets by showing the security guard our stubs.  We loitered about near the right side of the stage for a while, mainly because the mass of humanity was blocking us from getting back to our seats.  We had an excellent view of Tom, and at one point he walked over to our side!  He smiled our way, so I waved.  Cool!  I think he looked right at me!  Extra Cool!  I’ve been waiting since 1979 to see him, and this made it all worth it!  We finally shoved and pushed our way through the crowd standing in the aisle and made it back to our seats to enjoy the rest of the show.

During the encore, when he played Alright for Now,  our friends wanted to head back to the car.  I pouted and said we should try to get closer to the front of the stage instead.  Many people left before he came back to do the encore, so there was more room.  They agreed, so again we got down pretty close to the stage.  It was great!  I didn’t care one bit about having to fight the crowds after the show.  It was worth it.

On the way out, we got in the usual human and car traffic jam.  Some guy was selling home-made Tom t-shirts.  He was walking between the cars that were stuck.  We couldn’t resist, and bought one for eight bucks!

I am so glad I made the decision to buy those tickets. 

[Little did I know, I was about one month pregnant at that time.  I told my son he’s been to a Tom Petty concert!]

August 17, 2010 Posted by | 1995, The Gorge Amphitheatre, Tom Petty | , , | Leave a comment