Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, “Bad Girl Boogie Part 2” (Rattlesnake RS 267 / 68)
Disk One; Baby, Please Don’t Go / You Don’t Know How It Feels / Love is a Long Road / Crawlin’ Back to You / Down Home Girl / Handle With Care / Black Leather Woman / Little Red Rooster / Woman in Love / Done Somebody Wrong / I Won’t Back Down / Not Fade Away / I’m Cryin’ / I Got a Woman / 13 Days / Walls / Angel Dreams (No. 2)
Learnin’ to Fly / Melinda / Introductions / Wake up Time / Peggy Sue (Buddy Holly) / Yer So Bad / Lost Children / Two Men Talkin’ / Refugee / Carol / I’m Movin’ On / You Wreck Me – BONUS TRACKS – I’d Like To Love You Baby / Mary Jane’s Last Dance
Live at the Vic Theatre, Chicago, IL. April 19th, 2003.
The Rattlesnake label have recently released a Tom Petty recording from 2003. One of the musicians busiest periods as the band were due to set out on a lengthy summer tour this was to be twinned with 2 DVD releases of the shows and two PBS broadcasts. The first shows of the year however were part of a lengthy residency at the Vic Theatre in Chicago in April, running between 5 nights that month, shows that were considered to be returns to the front for Petty, turning their backs on the larger stadiums that they had been playing and giving their fans the more intimate experience.
Tom was careful about curating a series of shows that were also going to highlight the diversity of their songbook – pulling up old blues tunes, diving into his lengthy back catalogue (Travelling Wilburys included) for old hits and bringing up tracks from his recent past as he had stopped looking for hits, staying true to his thoughts and also daring to turn to bite the hand that fed him (Recording songs on his previous album that flipped the bird towards the music industry.
Mark Guarino writing for the Chicago Daily Herald wrote, “Petty devoted much of his two-hour, 45-minute set to these songs. They included rarely-performed jewels from his last four albums: “Wildflowers” (Warner Bros.), his soundtrack to the film “She’s The One,” “Echo” and “The Last D.J.” On songs like the piano ballad “Crawling Back To You” and also the hushed and bittersweet “Wake Up Time” “Angel Dream (No. 4)” and “Blue Sunday,” you could hear the subtlety of the Petty’s vocals and the light touches of his long-time versatile band the Heartbreakers. These were prized moments, especially considering that in a stadium, casual fans take this time to light up their cell phones, rush to the hot dog lines and start conversations with their friends in what became routine concert behaviour in the arrogant ‘90s.”
This ‘soundboard’ (Actually an FM stereo broadcast rather than what’s suggested on the sleeve but we’ll let that pass in this quality) features the full evenings show, a hefty 28 tracks, the DJ’s introduction from the recording has been clipped though and we launch pretty rapidly in to ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’.
The set is a fantastic mixture of blazin’ rock, cool covers of blues standards (‘Little Red Rooster’, ‘Done Somebody Wrong’) twinned with early era Rock ’n’ Roll Covers (‘Not Fade Away’, ‘I Got A Woman’, ‘Peggy Sue’, etc. ), quality reproductions of album favourites and the odd gem that would have the most hardened Heartbreakers fan hoiking aloft his beer to the venues ceiling and cheering his approval. A lot of what Petty achieves from his fans is visual however so if Tom blows kisses to the crowd, applauds the audience or flashes a weathered grin, utilising the dimension of an audio recording renders the listener clueless but if you’re buying a bootleg, you’re fairly certain of what’s happening behind the speakers anyway. Petty toys with the FM audience too by mentioning the stadium is full of nudes – ticket holders and band alike – dependent on your view either an appealing thought to see a 53 year old rocker on the stark or maybe not.
Highlights from the show are the aforementioned and blistering ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’, the bombastic, American Who-ness if Pete started playing wrought solos of ‘Love Is A Long Road’, ‘Down Home Girl’ has a bassy strut and was ‘leaned from an early Rolling Stones record ..’, where an obvious Beatles connection comes hand in hand with ‘Handle With Care’ Belmont Tench taking on Orbison / Dylan duties and making a really good fist of it too.
The band also find a little time to slip in a couple of ‘unreleased’ tracks – ‘Black Leather Woman’ was, of course, an addition on the ‘Soundstage’ DVD but still hasn’t been released on any studio recording thus far, neither has ‘Melinda’ or ‘Two Men Talkin’’ for that matter, the former, a furious harp washed rabble at an insistent pace, the latter a greatly extended, organ jam. It starts of spaciously then winds up the choppy Allmanesque monster. It certainly wouldn’t have sounded lost at the Fillmore.
One ‘released’ track here though as ‘Angel Dream (No. 2)’ has featured already on 2009’s ‘The Live Anthology’ CD on Reprise, however, it’s probably of little concern to Rattlesnake.
Bonus tracks are from an unidentified source – Same quality, they are mixed to sound as if they come from the same concert. Assured that they’re not, I can’t quite place my finger on where they’re actually from!
The artwork is the usual top notch production, full colour covers with a mix of sepia and black and white inside, minimal but really clear fonts for the set list. The title a play on the bonus CD that came with the original, ‘Live at the Olympic’ release. The only thing it is lacking is liner notes – Does the Treasurer of the Spalding Gentleman’s club not like Petty? – A classy production for an excellent show, deserves a place in a Tom Petty collection.