Rock and roll has so many genres and subgenres these days that nobody knows what it is anymore. Well, not nobody. Tom Petty knows. Yes, Tom Petty has always known what rock and roll is and has always been a champ at demonstrating how to play it. With no agenda and very little ego, he's played a hell of a lot of great rock and roll for more than 30 years and shows no signs of slowing down. I can't say for sure, because I last saw him play in 1987, but I would be willing to bet that he can still put on a first-rate show. Petty has a way of perfectly balancing no-nonsense and creativity with panache, so that his fans are neither bored nor disappointed, and are never quite sure what's coming next. He sticks to his guns, his roots and his complete understanding of what rock and roll can and should be, and what it is right at this moment. Tom Petty, my friends, is a rock and roll mensch. He and the Heartbreakers appear at the American Airlines Center Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Steve Winwood opens. Tickets are $55 to $99. Visit ticketmaster.com.
Wed., Aug. 27, 2008