Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers live @ the 02 June 7th 2012

A packed O2 Theatre welcomed Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers with a great cheer as the band launched straight into Listen To Her Heart. The excitment spread through those standing on the ground level, as well as to those seated in the balconies. All were treated to what amounted to a greatest hits set along with a couple of tracks from their current Mojo album and the odd surprise. The main one being a full-on version of Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green's Oh Well, done to perfection with the heavy riff well to the fore.The Traveling Wilbury's Handle With Care was another welcome choice. The amount of guitars on display was dizzying Mike Campbell didn't use the same guitar twice until eight songs into the set, and they even did one with matching Gibson Firebirds! By the third number in the crowd were singing along with songs like Don't Back Down. Here Comes My Girl, Yer So Bad, Learning To Fly, Runnin' Down A Dream and others all went over well. Petty told the audience that it had been too long since the band's last visit and how happy he was to be in Dublin. He mentioned that the previous day, while walking around, he had met some Spamish fans which led the crowd to burst into a sponteneous sing along of Ole, Ole, Ole which seemed to baffle, not understandably, both Petty and Campbell. So after a moment of confusion it was "back to the show" and they carried on with Free Falling and a extended guitar workout on It's Good To Be King with Petty, Campbell and Scott Thurston all on guitars. There were also slower songs, like Something Good Coming, that featured both Petty and Campbell on acoustic guitars. There was a balance between the hard and heavy, the immediatly catchy chart hits and the slower acoustic songs that all worked well. That the core of this band has been together for thirty years shows in the ease and skill that they deliver these songs. The rhythm section of the man Petty called "my favourite drummer" and like "standing in front of a freight train" Steve Ferrone and bassist Ron Blair anchored and drove the sound. While Thurston added guitar, harmonica, keyboards and harmony vocals. Heartbreaker mainstay Benmount Tench was a keyboard master who added colour and depth to the sound. Mike Campbell again reaffirmed his outstanding talent as lead guitarist. These guys didn't seem to be going through the motions and they were enjoying themselves and fed off the audience's response which was with them from the word go. It was a wide-ranging age group, though it weighed heavily toward the 40plus end of the spectrum. They called the band back for an encore of Mary Jane's Last Dance, and American Girl and then everyone went home on a high note.

Review and above stage-screen photo by Stephen Rapid