Petty and the Heartbreakers to rock the Amp

Classic rock notes and expressive lyrics will fill the open air of Tampa Bay when Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are joined by the Black Crowes at the Ford Amphitheatre tomorrow night.

Native Floridian Tom Petty joined the Heartbreakers in 1976. At the time, emerging into the American scene was difficult with their fresh sound, but the band was readily accepted in England. The English popularity drove their label to promote the singles “Breakdown” and “American Girl” to radio stations in the United States. The band began gaining popularity at home and released more albums to much praise in the states. “American Girl” has even been used in films such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High and The Silence of the Lambs. In 1993 the band released a greatest-hits album that contained several MTV favorites and two new tracks produced by the famed Rick Rubin.

However, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers did not have the easy road to success. The band suffered many fallouts, deaths and tragedies. Petty split from the Heartbreakers to join the Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison and Roy Orbison. He rejoined the Heartbreakers to make the She’s the One soundtrack in 1996, but before his return, drummer Stan Lynch left the band. In 2002 the band fired bassist Howie Epstein, who eventually died of a reported drug overdose. The tragedies did not hold the band down.

Petty as a solo artist and as a member of the Heartbreakers has been celebrated with several awards. Petty has been nominated for and won several Grammy awards and was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. The band’s music videos have been nominated for MTV awards, and the videos are included in many top music-video lists.

The Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tour is not in support of an album. With such an eventful history, the band is just reuniting to perform. The audience will surely be pleased with the results of over 20 years of rock ‘n’ roll experience as well as a quality opener in the Black Crowes.

The Black Crowes released their first album in 1990 with a vintage rock style mixed with funky rhythm that was different from the popular styles of the time. Their cover of Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle” boosted the band’s popularity. The Black Crowes have eluded mainstream radio play, but are never too far under the radar. The band got a push into the limelight when lead singer Chris Robinson married actress Kate Hudson. In 2002 the band went through some struggles but has emerged ready to play live for their eager fans.

The outdoor casual vibe of the Ford Amphitheatre is perfectly suited for this type of show. Lawn seats are $29 while actual seats are $59 at all levels. The show starts at 7 p.m., and not a minute of the opening act is to be missed. Bring $4 for parking and quite a bit more for refreshments or chair rentals. Sitting on the lawn listening to the live jams will certainly take you to another era of rock music.