Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dinosaur or Fossil

I read a review written on Tom Petty's new album today.  The conclusion was that he was still 'relatively' relevant which made him a 'dinosaur not a fossil'.  We went to TP's show last night at the Air Canada Centre so this comment was interesting.  Also in a trip that has seen us travel around the US and Canada quite a bit AND where we have taken the time to visit some museums, it made me think about history being 'relevant' and the characters in question being either 'dinosaurs' or 'fossils'.

This also relates to me too.

This being the digital age, there was a reader comment after the review which said why ask a Justin Bieber fan to review a Tom Petty album?  Decent question that made me chuckle but I suppose the come back to that is why not?  The modern reviewer views TP as a man of the past, or history.

Just as well that reviewer didn't consider Tom Petty's opening act last night, namely Steve Winwood.


Steve joined a Birmingham band in 1964 with his brother when he was 14 as singer and keyboardist and wrote a string of amazing R&B songs picked up by other acts: I'm a Man, Keep on Running, Gimme Some Loving.  He formed Traffic in 1967, then Blind Faith with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker coming out of Cream in 1969….

Unlike many other singers of that era, his voice has held up remarkably well.  Robert Plant and Roger Daltrey's for example aren't a patch on their heyday, clearly Steve sings within his range. 

But in terms of icon, Steve is a big one.

I saw him in Traffic 3 or 4 times the last being I think in 1977 or 1978 just before the band went into another lengthy hiatus.  Not many of my friends liked the band dismissing them as too boring or bland so I'd have trouble in finding people to go with. But they were brilliant live and to my mind pretty darn good last night -- check out Dear Mr. Fantasy below.

Unfortunately the arena was half empty and even for TP a few more came in but still it wasn't jammed like it was for the Queen show we saw here a few weeks back.

Tom Petty looked OK for a 60-something year old rocker.  At least he was standing … although a bit tricky to say whether he was weather beaten or not given the traditional rocker's life on the road.  His voice wasn't as strong as when I saw him last -- some 10-12 years ago -- but then again like Steve, he works within a range that works for him.  I was surprised to see him actually playing solos too.  He didn't before leaving that to his guitarist, Mike Campbell.  But this time he played some and then they extended out some tunes into some very nice interplay.  I call that progress.

From the Toronto Sun's review: they said pretty good and didn't mention dinosaurs more than once or twice.

Of course the audience sang along with the big tunes… me too and they were great to hear live.  

At some point, maybe even fairly soon, like Steve maybe TP will have to move his shows to smaller arenas.  The ACC is a huge aircraft hanger sort of place with people hanging off the walls… I am reminded of the nose bleed seats I'd bagged for the Carole King/James Taylor show a few years back when the music and the A/C units at our head level competed to be heard.  

Not quite nose bleed this time

But it was really nice to see them both back on the road, playing big halls to a lot of appreciative people.  Its probably all they know so better than sitting at home watching soap operas.

Not yet fossils.  Definitely.

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