Monday, October 2, 2017

Straight Into Darkness

On top of the unbearably tragic shit show in Vegas, hearing the news about Tom Petty dying, and then not dying, was just too much to bear. I wandered through the day hopeless and helpless. And now it’s official - he’s gone. 
We didn’t know it at the time, but just a week ago, my wife and I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ final show. The last of three sold out nights at the Hollywood Bowl. It was as much celebration as it was concert. And it was not an aging act phoning in their old hits, it was a great rock and roll band at the top of their game. Karen and I stood in the cheap seats, held hands like teenagers, and sang along to every song. It was magical - and for this 51-year-old teenager, magic like that is a lot harder to come by than it used to be.
Like millions of others, I grew up on Tom Petty’s music. I can’t count the amount of times I reached cathartic car-stereo nirvana shouting along to “Here Comes My Girl” or “Even The Losers” or “Refugee” or “The Waiting” or “Straight Into Darkness.” The amount of times I have cried happy to “Learning To Fly” and “Wildflowers.” And I’m damn sure I’ve never made it past the bridge of “Southern Accents” without losing it.
Tom Petty songs used simple words to state complex and universal truths - the hardest kind of songs to write. They were anthems for 10,000 lighters held high and a whispered confession for your ear only, all at the same time.
During that concert, Karen turned to me and said: “he’s in my heart. Tom Petty is in my heart. I feel like I’ve known him all my life.” I felt the same. We lost an old friend today. Rock on TP, wherever you are, and thanks for the music. It will never die.