Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers | Live At The Olympic – DVD Review

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One of the more satisfying experiences for a rock and roll fan is seeing a film of a concert you were actually at. That way you can relive the experience again while aimlessly searching for yourself in the audience, no matter where you were sitting. That’s the way it is with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ Live At The Olympic.

When it was announced the group would be performing at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles on October 15 and 16, 2002, I anxiously scooped up a couple of tickets, knowing it was going to be filmed. I was, however, a bit concerned by the concert’s locale. The Olympic Auditorium is not your everyday, garden-variety concert venue. It’s been a downtown fixture for boxing matches for years. Situated in one of the more dubious areas of L.A., the 2,000-seat venue rarely hosts rock concerts. All of which made TP and The HB’s appearance that much more intriguing.

Armed with a full orchestra at stage right, Petty and company tracked through every song off their extraordinary 2002 release, The Last DJ. They retreated for a couple of minutes and returned to play six more tunes, including classics like “I Need To Know,” “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and Chuck Berry’s “Around And Around.”

To witness this event in all its splendor, the Live At The Olympic DVD is your ticket, a superbly shot and recorded production that taps into the heart and soul of one of America’s most endearing bands. The DVD also includes commercials for The Last DJ, but the real bonus is a four song CD taken from Petty & The Heartbreakers’ performance for the PBS program, Soundstage.

~ Shawn Perry

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