While I still savor most of Tom Petty’s musical catalog, long ago I gave up on seeing him in concert after several tries. I just find his live show to be drudgingly dull. The opportunity however to see his hand-picked opening act, Steve Winwood, was reason enough for me to accept an invite to attend their show together at the Arena.
I last saw Winwood headline an overly-entertaining show in 2012 at Fontenal. Tonight was no less sublime although his marvelous eight-song set was all to brief. To my delight, he made a surprise reprise midway through Petty’s set (not a regular feature on this tour) to front the Heartbreakers for two additional numbers. These two songs brought the house down and were certainly a highlight of the evening.
Winwood played a cross section of songs from his days with the Spencer Davis Group (where at age 14 he began his musical career) through his tenure with Traffic and Blind Faith, right up to his Grammy-winning solo career. For a surprise, he threw in a rendition of Buddy Miles’ 1960’s FM radio staple “Them Changes.”
One thing about Winwood that I consistently forget is that he is just not a top-notch keyboard player, but that he is also equally adept on the guitar and mandolin.
Winwood is married to a Tennessee girl and has been a part-time Nashvillian for some time now. Unfortunately we don’t see enough of him in these parts. Here’s hoping that he someday settles down and becomes more a part of the Music City scene. I would love to see him do a show at the new City Winery, as well as less formal stuff such as sitting in with The Long Players.
- I’m a Man (Spencer Davis Group song)
- Them Changes (Buddy Miles cover)
- Back in the High Life Again
- Had to Cry Today (Blind Faith song)
- Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (Traffic song)
- Empty Pages (Traffic song)
- Higher Love
- Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic song)
DURING TOM PETTY SET:
- Can’t Find My Way Home (Blind Faith song)
- Gimme Some Lovin’ (Spencer Davis Group song)
Steve Winwood – Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar and Mandolin
Paul Booth– Sax and Keyboards
Jose Neto– Guitar
Edson “Café” Da Silva– Percussion
Richard Bailey– Drums