Cannibalism, Necrophilia, and Tom Petty’s descent into madness. (A concert review on Tom Petty’s 40th anniversary show)

Alice in Wonderland is one of my all time favorite Disney movies. It is trippy and dark, even for old Disney. Everything from the constantly tokin’ caterpillar, to the speedballing Mad Hatter and March Hare, to the bad acid trip of the Cheshire Cat, to the constant fear of beheading by the Queen of Hearts. Wonderland has it all! Fast forward to the early 90’s and you have Tom Petty dumping a fresh batch of cannibalism to the already mind bender that is Alice in Wonderland with his ‘Don’t Come Around Here No More’ video. We see a Mad Hatter Tom Petty feeding his fiendish friends poor Alice, who seemingly wondered into the wrong video. Yep, I was hooked.

Fast forward now to the late 90’s and we see Tom take one of my hormone raging teenage crushes, Kim Basinger (thank you Batman and 9 1/2 Weeks), and dance her dead body all around his house before giving her a burial at sea (lucky bastard). ‘Mary Jane’s Last Dance’ is constantly debated about whether he’s singing about weed or some chick he knew, but all I remember is beautiful, limp, barefooted, Kim Basinger being borderline defiled in her post-mortem state. I was moderately disturbed but overzealously jealous. Tom’s been screwing with my head ever since.

Last night he kicked everyone in the teeth with his relentless, high energy, 40th anniversary show when it stopped in Houston. I attended with my Queenie, my pops, my longest running accomplice and alibi Adam Bomb, and a slew of friends and family. Opener Joe Walsh played all his classic rock anthems you’d expect and unfortunately an Eagles song too (God, I hate the Eagles). Funny, quirky, lively, and a rippin’ guitar player. Joe brings a good show.

Where Joe brings a good show, Tom rains kerosene from the clouds, throws a match, and sets the whole place ablaze! Kicking off two songs in with his extended ode to necrophilia or weed (depending on who you talk to), Mary Jane was a surprise opener that I was sure would have been a closer. A few songs later ‘Don’t Come Around Here No More’ sent me back to my mind erasing days of binge watching Alice in Wonderland and MTV (that old channel that used to play music videos).

In addition, there were almost all the Petty classics you’d want. He played my personal favorite song he does, ‘It’s Good to be King’, and he extended that well beyond what anyone would be grateful for. Main set ended with a forever lasting version of ‘Running Down a Dream’, and the last song of the night was ‘American Girl’. Too many classics to list. If you want the full set, go here.

Among the cannibalism, necrophilia, and classic rock anthems, there was sporadic rain, but the sold out crown (and this narrator) certainly didn’t mind. It simply added to the overall experience. Even though the shirts and beer were overpriced, I cannot say one bad thing about that show. It’s scary to think how good of a show he can still do after 40 years and I hope when I’m that age I’ll still be kickin’ just as hard… or at the very least get to dance with Kim Basinger (alive or playing dead). Stay scary! (TM)