Friday June 6th 2017 was a rock and roll day for sure.
First up at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ was Joe Walsh from my beloved Eagles. I have a special affection for Joe because he went to Montclair High School – the town I went to college in. He started his set in front of a lukewarm crowd with a song from 1973, “Meadows,” and then “Ordinary Average Guy” from 1991. I was a bit distracted because people were talking and the house wasn’t full yet. I was there to see both artists – Joe Walsh and Tom Petty. I guess people were there just to see Mr. Petty and weren’t too interested in Mr. Walsh – but I was.
Joe then broke into a James Gang song “The Bomber: Closet Queen,” which again, only piqued the interest of the majority of the crowd, however I enjoyed it. Before he started his next song, he prefaced it with “This is for my former band-mate and friend” and of course he was referring to the late Glenn Frey. People perked up a bit when he started the Eagles tune “Take it to the Limit,” continued with “Turned to Stone,” and led into another Eagles hit “In the City.” He sang another James Gang song, “Funk #49” which was fantastic. Joe was playing guitar as great as ever. He finished up his 10 song set with “Life’s Been Good” and “Rocky Mountain Way.” He was enthusiastic and loving the attentiveness of the crowd. I was disappointed that he didn’t join with Tom Petty on any songs, or that Tom Petty didn’t even acknowledge Joe’s set. Such is the life of rock and rollers I guess. Anyway, I’d see Joe again and again. He is such a talented guitarist and showman.
After a short break, Tom Petty took the stage and opened with “Rockin’ Around (With You)” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” I have to say, Tom’s band is tight. They have been together since they were teenagers – such a rarity with many of today’s bands. Tom Petty’s vocals were spot on as was his energy and guitar-playing. He continued with “You Don’t Know How it Feels” and the crowd loved it. He kept the momentum going with “You Got Lucky,” “I Won’t Back Down,” and “Free Fallin.’” True Petty fans were not disappointed. He also included “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” “It’s Good to be King,” “Crawlin’ Back to You,” and the mellow song “Wildflowers.” We were all back on our feet for “Learning to Fly” and “Yer So Bad.” He finished his 17 song set with “Refugee” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” – the entire venue was standing up and singing. The band left the stage and came back with a two-song encore of the classics “You Wreck Me” and of course, “American Girl.”
Even after 40 years, this band knows how to rock the house. It was an amazing concert but I couldn’t understand why Joe Walsh and Tom Petty didn’t perform together on ANY song. I think it defeats the purpose of them touring together. However, it was a night of pure rock and roll and yes, I’d go again…anytime.