Royal Mojo (The Godfatherecords G.R. 793/794)
Royal Albert Hall, London, UK – June 20, 2012
Disc 1: (70:55) Listen To Her Heart, You Wreck Me, I Won’t Back Down, Here Comes My Girl, Handle With Care, Good Enough, Oh Well, Something Big, Don’t Come Around Here No More, Band & Steve Winwood Intros, Can’t Find My Way Home, Gimme Some Lovin’, Free Fallin’
Disc 2: (76:59) It’s Good To Be King, Something Good Coming, Learning To Fly, Yer So Bad, I Shoulda Known It, Refugee, Runnin’ Down A Dream, Mary Jane’s Last Dance, American Girl
Bonus Tracks: (Piazza Napoleone, Lucca, Italy – June 29, 2012) Carol, Two Men Talking, (Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – June 24, 2012) The Waiting
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers made two stops at the Royal Albert Hall on June 18th and 20th during their 2012 European Tour. The recording for Royal Mojo is a very good to excellent but slightly distant audience source that comes from the second of the two nights. It does have very clear sound with a nice balance between the instruments including a little added echo from the venue.
The band casually takes the stage and soundchecks their instruments for a few seconds before “Listen To Her Heart”. It’s a great warm up song for Petty and a big enough hit to open the show with. They speed things up with the trashy “You Wreck Me” from Petty’s second solo record, Wildflowers. Mike Campbell rips through the solo before a very dynamic breakdown with some nice piano.
Tom breaks the ice with “long time no see” and mentions that this is the second night here and that they have a lot of songs to play. “I Won’t Back Down” follows and sounds huge in the Albert Hall with its big powerful choruses. Petty goes to the Damn The Torpedos album for “Here Comes My Girl”. Steve Ferrone captures Stan Lynch’s drum feel perfect and Petty nails the narrated verses. Mike Campbell unfortunately has some tuning problems toward the end but the crowd doesn’t seem to mind.
The Traveling Wilburys’ “Handle With Care” sounds right at home in the set. Scott Thurston does an excellent job with Roy Orbison’s vocal and covers the harmonica parts as well. “Good Enough” from the new Mojo record is a slow dark sounding track that carries a ton of weight and Mike Campbell sounds very Page influenced in the solo. Scott Thurston’s additional guitar adds a lot during this track.
A great cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well” is played. It adds a lot of energy to the show and gets a huge response from the audience. At the conclusion Petty gives credit to “the great Peter Green” and goes on to explain that the next track is one that nobody ever seems to know but is one of his favorites from the Hard Promises record. “Something Big” has kind of a Stones feel to it with a solid groove from Ferrone. The guitar solo even sounds like something Keith would play. “Don’t Come Around Here No More” is a great song but doesn’t translate live as well as it did on the studio version but the fast ending seems to redeem things and the crowd seems to really enjoy it.
After the band introductions Petty talks about his influence from English musicians on TV and goes on to say he is “very honored to have with us one of our great friends, Mr. Steve Winwood”. They play a nice version of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” with solos from both Mike Campbell and Winwood including some extra mellow slide guitar added for color. Winwood sticks around for another and leads the band on organ for another of his early compositions, “Gimme Some Lovin”.
“It’s Good To Be King” from Tom’s Wildflowers album stretches to over 12 minutes and takes the listener through a slow dynamic journey. “Something Good Coming” continues in a very mellow mood before the first chords of “Learning To Fly” brings the Albert Hall to their feet again. This is played as an “almost” acoustic version with the massive crowd singing the track along with the band.
“Alright, let’s have a little rock and roll now” Petty says before “I Shoulda Known It” returning the band to a more electric sound. “Refugee” is a little faster and has more energy than the original. Tom has some trouble with the high notes in the middle but is otherwise an outstanding version. “Runnin’ Down A Dream” brings a big finish to the main set with “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and the iconic “American Girl” serving as encores.
The first two bonus tracks included on disc two are from Lucca, Italy on June 29, 2012. A cover of Chuck Berry’s “Carol” and a brand new song come from an excellent audience source. “Two Men Talking” is an amazing new song that shows the guys’ ability to still write great songs. It also has some sweet duel guitar soloing and also includes a short bass solo. The final track was recorded in Amsterdam on June 24, 2012 and comes from another excellent audience source. The crowd is treated to a surprise version of “The Waiting” with Eddie Vedder on lead vocal. Vedder is known to be a long time Petty fan and does a fantastic job with the vocal.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are one of the few artists that improve with age and with most of the classic line up, excluding Stan Lynch, the band sounds better than ever and delivers an outstanding show spanning 35 years worth of hits. Royal Mojo presents a nice enjoyable atmospheric recording of a great performance that is packed not only with the usual suspects but carries a nice selection of his newer material as well. This is definitely recommended to fans of Petty’s heartland style of rock and roll.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)