don't you tell me how i feel.

flashback friday: “it’s good to be king” by don't you tell me how i feel.
March 22, 2013, 8:09 am
Filed under: flashback friday, guest post, Shit I love

(A guest post from Lehtola)

I had the privilege of seeing Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform in Gainesville, Florida, back in 2006. Petty hadn’t played Gainesville in at least a decade, and since that’s where he was born and raised, it was quite an event. Tickets were hard to come by, but I managed to snag a few through the local college radio station where I was working at the time.

“Good To Be King” has long been the Tom Petty song most stuck in my mental craw (especially that pensive piano part near at the end), but I wasn’t sure if he’d play it, much less an extended, 12-minute version; I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Sublime dual guitar soloing, sudden changes of pace, ambidextrous piano playing, and masterful cymbalry, all tight as a toe in rock climber’s shoe.

The best part of it was, every time I (and the entire audience) thought the song was ending, it just kept going, like a Tantric orgasm, or dinner at one of those restaurants where servers roam about with skewers of grilled meat. Raise your hand high and they’ll keep on bringing it, like the guy at the 10:10 mark in this video. However, the true ending is such that (the way Petty does it) the audience really knows it’s the ending, this time — like for sure.


I hadn’t thought about this show in years, and only recently discovered the video was on YouTube. After watching it five or six times, I then watched Petty’s New Year’s Eve show in Santa Monica, California, from 1978:

Put it on and listen while you work. It’s incredible, and it got me thinking about Petty’s place in rock and roll history. Why doesn’t he get the same respect and recognition as, say, Springsteen? They were born a year apart — Springsteen in 1949 in the north, and Petty in 1950 in the south. Springsteen’s released 17 albums and Petty’s dropped 15. Both are considered rock and roll icons, and both have had hit songs dealing with the red, white and blue. That said, I’ll take “American Girl” over “Born in the U.S.A.” any day of the week. Also, Springsteen was never a Traveling Wilbury, and Bob Dylan never called Bruce Springsteen and the E. Street Band “the greatest rock and roll band in America,” like he dubbed Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.

I respect the hell out of the Boss, but never cared too much for his music (save “Streets of Philadelphia,” oddly enough). I saw him with the E. Street Band on the Reunion Tour in 2000 in South Florida, and although it was good, in my opinion, this Tom Petty show was better.


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