Come Together – Damn the Torpedoes, Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre Oct. 29, 2022

Come Together: Tom Petty rolled into Auckland over the weekend. The Reverend was there (and so was Leonie).

The Come Together musician’s ensemble deliver Tom Petty’s Damn the Torpedoes as a timeless Rock’n’Roll masterclass.

Tom Petty came from Gainesville, Florida. He met Elvis Presley on a film set as an eleven-year-old. Watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964 closed the deal. He was on the path to becoming an American music legend. Of course, only a chosen few get to breathe in that rarified air of that summit.

The best of Petty is the evolution of the Buddy Holly sound. The Texas revolution. The Bobby Fuller Four carried the torch first. The Beatles went nuclear with it. Ringing guitars and chiming riffs.

Trace it through Listen to Me and Rave On. Then I Fought the Law and Please Please Me right up to American Girl.

The group’s closing song before the encores. Also done as a tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis this evening, the legend having passed away in the last day or so. The jangle guitars as a drone riff used judiciously. There is a special inspirational quality to that song tonight, as the band lay into it.

The Come Together ensemble reached a pinnacle tonight in the sound they achieved. There were two spirits were being channeled.

Jol Mulholland guitars and musical director. Jon Toogood (Shihad), Adam Hattaway (Eastern, Adam and the Roosters), Dianne Swann (The Bads) and Milan Borich (Pluto) the voices. Brett Adams (The Bads, Mockers) guitars and vocals, Mark Hughes bass, Wayne Bell drums and Matthais Jordan keyboards.

They started the show explosively too, with Refugee. Toogood hits peak form immediately and sounds a bit like Springsteen.

Borich has a similar vocal pitch too with Even the Losers.

Hattaway possibly steals the vocal limelight when he fronts Here Comes My Girl, Century City and the two Traveling Wilburys covers, Handle with Care and End of the Line. Closer in tone to Petty’s tenor, and those dancing Jaggerisms are coming along nicely.

It’s a close thing and don’t hold me to it.

The last song on Torpedo’s is Louisiana Rain. Starts with a swirling keyboard as it ventures into pop americana. A gem of slide guitar from Adams, giving it some Duane Allman Southern R’n’B.

Toogood introduces Don’t Do Me Like That as a boogie. I like to think of it as Southern power pop.

Breakdown was a cult favourite from the time when punk was riding high in this country. Swann excels here as she takes it into Fleetwood Mac territory, husky Stevie Nicks styling and all.

Running Down a Dream and Listen to Her Heart. Swann can do country soul, whilst the sounds of bagpipes must be coming from the keyboards.

A lot of the audience tonight remember two iconic shows that Petty played here. The first at the Logan Campbell Centre in 1980. He covered I Fought the Law. We were all standing on the seats and dancing. The other was at Mt Smart in 1986. Dylan was awful. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were magnificent and rescued the show.

Tonight, the theatre is a bit austere and bland in setting but many dance as best they can, being forbidden to do so in the aisles.

It’s Good to be King gives Adams a chance to lead the vocals. A slower tempo and the most introspective of the evening. The piano lends a moonlight tone. The entry of Led Zepps’ Good Times, Bad Times is used as a bridge, leading into an extended guitar coda showcase.

Into the Great Wide Open has Toogood singing and the group achieve a sound mid-point from the Beatles to Oasis.

Of course, Free Falling is one of the encores. We were all waiting for it. She’s a good girl/ She’s crazy ‘bout Elvis.

The Come Together ensemble finish the way they came in. Inspirational Rock’n’Roll and a superb tribute to Tom Petty as well as a fitting wake for Mister Great Balls of Fire.

Rev Orange Peel

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