Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Mojo Tour 2010 – Expanded Edition

January 01, 1970



In mid-December, just in time to qualify as an early
Christmas gift, a free download of 8 live tracks from Tom Petty’s summer 2010 North
American Mojo Tour was sent out to
every Petty punter who’d purchased a ticket online. Fans had their choice of
their personal tour sampler in 320k MP3, FLAC or Apple Lossless formats, and in
addition to the high digital quality, the tunes themselves were of pristine,
professionally mixed audio quality, making Mojo
Tour 2010
as much an official release as any of Petty’s previous live
albums, though not one you’ll find in any stores. One wag on a message board
nailed it: Live ‘Leg, Pt. 2.


To sweeten the deal for subscribing members of Petty’s
“Highway Companions Club” a link to the same 8 cuts plus 6 extras was sent out
– a full 14-track, 73-minute digital album that fits perfectly on a single
disc. (Apparently the Mojo Tour 2010 –
Expanded Edition
can still be picked up if you join the Club before Feb. 24
– details on the release, including the full track listing and the specific
dates and venues for the songs, can be found here at the official Petty site.)


The album’s setlist is culled from various June-October
stops and features selective sequencing similar to that of a full concert on
the Mojo Tour, whose shows typically
ran about 17 to 19 songs and in the 100-minute range. The band would open up
with a brace of hits and fan favorites, then move into a 4- or 5-song segment
spotlighting new Mojo material,
followed by more hits and finally the encores. That’s not as static as it may
seem on paper; speaking as someone who attended one of the Mojo shows (September 19, in Charlotte, represented here by “I
Won’t Back Down”), I can testify that the material was dynamic and as bracing
as ever, with even warhorses like “Refugee,” “Breakdown,” “Listen to Her Heart”
and perennial concert-closer “American Girl” still retaining their
pulse-quickening qualities after all these years.


And that’s essentially the point, one supposes. As noted in
our review
a year or so ago of the massive Petty Live Anthology boxed set, there is “a universality sunk deep into
[the songs’] sonic and lyric hooks… like immersing oneself in a sea of sense
memories.” Mojo Tour 2010 – Expanded
operates on a similar level, both as a superior souvenir from this
past summer – you can track down full-show bootlegs and audience tapes easily
enough, but probably not any that were recorded and mixed professionally for
the band – and as kind of summation-to-date of the Heartbreakers and their
notable, time-tested live aesthetic.


Opening track “Listen to Her Heart,” for example, is as much
a jangly gem in 2010 (Milwaukee, June 25, for anyone wanting to keep track) as
it was back in the late ‘70s, and as befits its vintage, it seems to have acquired
an additional seasoning of elegance, the band performing it at a steady,
easygoing pace that allows Mike Campbell’s clarion calls on guitar and the rich
harmony vocals to fairly shimmer in the air above the crowd. Contrastingly,
“Drivin’ Down To Georgia” (a non-album number that first turned up officially on
the Live Anthology box; this version
is Atlanta, Aug. 11) gets an edgy, riffy, revved-up reading spiced by a midsong
dynamics turnaround spearheaded by pianist Benmont Tench; the song clearly ranks
in the pantheon of Heartbreaker greats, slotting perfectly among the “hits” despite
it being, in terms of the band’s studio canon, an obscurity.


The mid-show Mojo portion is represented by “Jefferson Jericho Blues,” “First Flash of Freedom”
(both Philly, Aug. 1), “Running Man’s Bible” (Raleigh,
Sept. 18), “I Should Have Known It” (Edmonton,
June 16) and “Good Enough” (Philly, July 31). For the tour Petty wisely
resisted dipping too deeply into Mojo‘s
15-song tracklist, knowing that his concertgoing demographic probably tilts
more in the direction of comfort-food songs than newer, less familiar material.
Those 5 muscular numbers, however, ably represent the parent album, with the
swirling, Southern rock-tinged psychedelia of “FFOF” and the dramatic/cinematic
blooze of “Good Enough” in particular making their bids for eventual setlist-staple
longevity. After that it’s a crowd-pleasing race to the finish line and victory
lap via “Refugee” (Quincy, WA, June 12), “Runnin’ Down a Dream” (Phoenix, Oct. 7) and “American Girl” (Edmonton, June 16), Petty thanking
the audience after the final number’s completion in a tone of voice that sounds
even to these jaded ears utterly sincere.


Some might propose that having played “American Girl” at
every single concert since his first album was released must find Petty and his
Heartbreakers on autopilot status from time to time, right? But ask yourself:
do YOU ever get tired of it, any more than you get tired of hearing, say, “Like
a Rolling Stone,” or “Street Fighting Man”? As with the Dylan and Stones
numbers, the Petty song long ago became part of our musical DNA, and it sent
concertgoers streaming out of venues into parking lots this summer with a
joyful chiming in the ears and big smiles on their faces. What better gift – to
both fans AND band – could anyone ask for?


Thanks, Tom.


entire thing, natch. Grab it while you can. FRED MILLS

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