Sometimes I think the word “epic” is overused. But last week I decided to head to Denver with a friend to see one of the most enduring musicians in one of the great music venues in the country. Sure I love Tom Petty, Colorado, and concerts in general… but seeing him and his band at Red Rocks Ampitheatre on a perfect fall night in the Rockies… that can only be described as epic.
I have seen Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in concert a few times over the years, but this was by far their best performance. I thought the highlight might be hearing “Runnin’ Down a Dream” or “I Won’t back Down.” That is a song we often use in the RHYTHMinTWENTY and Rogue events.
“Well I won’t back down, no I won’t back down. You can stand me up to the gates of Hell, but I won’t back down, No I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around, And I’ll keep this world from draggin” me down. Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down” -Tom Petty
In a lot of ways those are great words to live by as we try and slug out this life as best we can, but hearing them was not even the highlight. For me, the highlight was when Tom Petty introduced his band. Now usually that is just a part of concert you have to endure. You want the artist to get on with it, right? But this was a little different. He first introduced the newest member of the Heartbreakers, who had been with the band… twenty years.
He talked about the others, including the incredibly talented lead guitarist, who has played every show with Tom Petty since 1970. Then he said, “Yeah, this is not our first tour, but it has been the most fun one.” The thought crossed my mind that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are learning that time does go fast, and to seize the moments they are in. Even after forty-four years of playing shows, they are still loving it, but sense that this journey is coming to end.
It made me wonder about Petty himself. What is it about him that has helped him have such enduring relationships? What is it that has kept him and his music so relevant? Why would those guys in his band stay so fiercely faithful, some for more than four decades? The packed venue of 10,000 plus people was a pretty even mix of young and old. Only a few musicians, or anyone else for that matter, has been able to pull off that kind of consistency over the long haul, and retain such a wide appeal.
Whatever the case with the deeper questions, it sure was a fun night. It was a twenty-four hour blitz trip with fourteen hours in the car that was so worth it. It reminded me to keep chasing things that are fun, things that are life-giving… things that fill my tank. Those are some of the things that give me the energy and passion I need for the other stuff that I do
It also showed me there is some lessons to learn, and things to think about in the day-to-day moments of life. Even in a Tom Petty concert, God can break through with some new insight, thoughts and challenges. Yeah, time is passing pretty quick; no doubt I need to seize and enjoy the moments as they come.
It really was a pretty EPIC night.