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Tom Petty Was the Ultimate Rock Fan

Mitchell Cohen, Music Aficionado, February 2018

EVERY NIGHT, on what was never supposed to be their last tour, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers opened the show with side one, track one of their debut album, 'Rockin' Around (With You)', as vintage footage of the band was projected on the big arena screens behind them. It was a flashback, and a statement of purpose, a manifesto: This is what we do, the song promised; we're in this thing together. It forged a bond between performer and audience that this band had always lived up to for four decades. You knew, whether you saw them near the start of it all, as I did, on the bill with Roger McGuinn at the Bottom Line in 1977, or on the final swing that ended forty years later, that they were there, as they say on reality TV, for the right reasons.

Total word count of piece: 3473


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