30 years after their first show at storied venue, Heartbreakers return
Thirty years ago almost to the day, a hot young band called Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers took the stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre for the first time. Judging by the enthusiasm of the crowd inside the historic venue Tuesday night, when the band launched its latest national tour (in support of their 12th album, "Mojo"), more than a few fans managed to catch both shows.
The modern Heartbreakers, which include most of the original lineup, hooked the audience early with hits such as "Mary Jane's Last Dance," "You Don't Know How it Feels" and "Free Fallin'." Perhaps adjusting to recent criticisms of his live performances, the 59-year-old Petty was all energy, piling on the guitar heroics and strutting like it was still 1979.
Opener Joe Cocker ambled to the microphone looking like Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, fixing his collar and squinting at the crowd like he wasn't quite sure who all those people were. But his famous bluesman's voice arrived a few moments later, shredding through his own songs, blues standards and several Beatles covers with equal grit and skill.