09 July 2017 (gig)
12 July 2017
A legendary line up closes the annual British Summer Time Festival as two of the industry's most acclaimed artists take the stage and make Hyde Park theirs for this evening.
Stevie Nicks performs a mixture of Fleetwood Mac classics and solo material spanning her forty year career.
Unsurprisingly, an older crowd stand and admire one of music's most characteristic and emblematic voices. A field full of flamboyant frocks and flares, fans rejoice in being taken back to their youth as Nicks performs hits such as 'Dreams', 'Rhiannon' and 'Landslide'. A treat to witness.
As 8:15pm approaches and now in the golden circle area, Tom Petty and his entourage are welcomed by 65,000 fans to commemorate and honour their 40th anniversary. A marriage made in heaven. Petty is quick to acknowledge his band are in some ways 'closer than family'. The Heartbreakers open with 'Rockin Around (With You), their first ever single taken from 1976's eponymous debut LP. What better way to start?
Seemingly now off their heels and on their toes, fans look on and listen as Petty shares several anecdotes between tracks, much to the crowds delight. It appears his career has generated as many stories as songs. Some feat. Perfect crowd interaction.
Fast forward to 1993 and the classic 'Mary Janes Last Dance' sounds. Petty is now forced closer to the mic as thousands of voices now join him. The first real glimpse of his distinctive American Southern drawl. Having once completely deserted him in the 80's midway through a tour, tonight his voice is imposing and bold.
A mere twenty minutes in and Petty's Rickenbacker chimes three chords repeatedly. The crowd are in awe as these chords make up the iconic 'Free Fallin'. A gem of a song written with reference to life in Los Angeles. Approaching thirty years since its release, it remains his biggest hit to date and it's easy to see why. Simplicity at its finest.
How does he top that? With ease. Petty introduces his close friend Stevie Nicks as she returns to the stage, where she belongs. Performing her debut solo single, 'Stop Draggin My Heart Around' written by Petty himself, the pair deliver an unforgettable duet. A memorable moment met with rapturous applause.
Evidently, Petty enjoys engaging with the crowd. And not just through his music. Throughout the set he continuously reminds us of where, why and what he penned each track about. An intriguing insight into the life of a prolific rock star. Fans share his enjoyment.
As darkness falls over Hyde Park, we are now back in 1994 as Petty flaunts more of his solo material. 'Crawling Back to You' and 'Wildflowers', taken from his second solo LP of the same name. Both are widely appreciated.
Just shy of the two hour mark, Petty and his Heartbreakers thank the London crowd and depart the stage after finishing with yet another classic solo effort; 'Runnin Down A Dream'. A song co written with Jeff Lynne and undoubtedly one that makes his greatest hits collection.
After a patient five minute wait in London's darkness, the inevitable encore is on. The final four minutes is the high tempo jangling riff of 1977's 'American Girl'. The perfect farewell.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have taken London on a journey this evening. Full speed, through four decades of music and eighty million record sales. All in a night's work. An utter triumph.