In amber Aviators and varying stages of radiant purple formal attire, Tom Petty emerged and re-emerged into a spotlight between every Heartbreakers song you've ever cranked up to 11 on the radio dial, proving that it wasn't too soon, after all, to return to Little Rock and, as he put it, to "thank our friends for showing up for forty years." 13,551 friends, in this case.
Guitar techs for both Petty and opener Joe Walsh interchanged axes seamlessly after almost every tune, and staples like "Last Dance with Mary Jane" and "Life's Been Good" were delivered with loyalty to their no-frills original versions. Walsh interpolated Maurice Ravel's 1928 hit "Bolero" into the James Gang medley "The Bomber," and Petty made use of some serious spectacle, probably to the delight of any children in the audience/anyone who was stoned/anyone seated in the nosebleeds: a giant treasure chest (Are we meant to link that up with Petty's SiriusXM show
?) and aerially suspended grids of balloons, lined up in four blocks of forty balloons each, swaying and re-grouping in formations like an overhead marching band.
Also, Tom Petty sang "I Won't Back Down" with nary a reference to Sam Smith (because he's too classy for that), and straight-up threw his harmonica into the crowd after a solo on "Walls."