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Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers still rocking after 36 years

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers Tour 2012 stops in Albuquerque, NM
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers Tour 2012 stops in Albuquerque, NM
Copyright 2012 Donna Kent

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers Tour 2012 at Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, NM


With a Rickenbacker guitar on his arm and a warm, genuine smile on his face, Tom Petty greeted fans at Tingley Coliseum on Tuesday for the third stop of his 2012 Tour.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers perform at Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, NM
Copyright 2012 Donna Kent

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers opened their international tour in Broomfield, Colo., last week amidst news of several of the band’s classic guitars being stolen from a soundstage in Culver City, Calif., where the band had been rehearsing. The five stolen guitars, which included a vintage 1967 Rickenbacker, a 1967 Epiphone and a 1965 Gibson, were ultimately recovered by the Culver City Police Department, and a 51-year-old security guard has been booked for grand theft.

"I am extremely grateful to the Culver City Police Department for a job well done and touched by the outpouring of good wishes and concern from our fans and friends," Petty said on the band's Facebook page.

The Hall-of-Fame rocker even had a little fun with the news as he shared the story of how he wrote the song “Spike” with the Albuquerque crowd. As Petty painted the picture of a rough bar in Gainesville, Fla., filled with “thieves, hijackers, and thugs,” he added, “guitar thieves in there,” getting a loud laugh from the crowd.

But Tom Petty wasn’t going to let a guitar thief get him down. Instead, he treated fans to a stellar performance that included songs from as early as 1976 from the band’s self-titled album, all the way through their latest studio album “Mojo,” which was released in 2010.

Opening with “Listen to Her Heart,” the band performed a few fan favorites including “You Wreck Me,” “I Won’t Back Down,” and “Here Comes My Girl” before breaking out the Traveling Wilbury’s cover “Handle with Care.”

“Lover’s Touch” from the album “Mojo” and Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man” came next, followed by the tune “Something Big” that Petty called an obscure song from the 1981 album “Hard Promises” that’s one of his favorites that he never got to play.

Pulling once again from his rich repertoire, Petty performed the song “Travelin’ Light” by songwriter JJ Cale, followed by “a quiet song from the album Wildflowers.” “Time to Move On” inspired at least one fan to scream her devotion to Petty, to which he responded, “I love you, too baby! So sweet. So sweet.”

Quiet and sweet soon transformed into some harder tunes prompting Petty to invite his audience to “bang our little heads” as he went into “I Should Have Known It.” There was a powerful feeling that Petty really meant it when he sang the words “it’s the last time you’re gonna hurt me," and the heavy, guitar-driven sounds of the band pounded the message home.

With the incredible range of quiet, sweet, sometimes poppy, occasionally headbanging, always rock-and-roll music, perhaps the best moments of the night came in the encore. The band performed fan favorite “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” from their “Greatest Hits” album, and ended with a song from where it all started in 1976, “American Girl.”

The 2012 Tour continues through North America until May 5, after which it will head to Europe for dates that includes their headlining performance at the Isle of Wight Festival on June 22. Shows in Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, England, Switzerland, France, and Italy are currently included on the itinerary.

The full list of tour dates can be found on the band’s Tour Page.


  1. Listen to Her Heart
  2. You Wreck Me
  3. I Won’t Back Down
  4. Here Comes My Girl
  5. Handle With Care
  6. Lover’s Touch
  7. I’m a Man
  8. Something Big
  9. Free Fallin’
  10. Spike
  11. Traevlin’ Light
  12. Time to Move On
  13. Learning to Fly
  14. Yer So Bad
  15. I Should Have Known It
  16. Good Enough
  17. Refugee
  18. Running Down a Dream


  1. Mary Jane’s Last Dance
  2. American Girl


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