Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as "The World's Largest Music Festival," Milwaukee's Summerfest spans 11 days with more than 700 bands playing to over 1,000,000 fans over the course of the entire festival.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers headlined Friday's lineup that featured Jeff Beck, Public Enemy and openers ZZ Top. From the moment Billy Gibbons, Frank Hill and Dusty Beard sauntered onstage, the Texas rock legends poured on the heat, muscling through a set of hits including "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Cheap Sunglasses." With Hill and Beard providing a rock-solid rhythm, Gibbons spit solo after fiery solo, proving without any doubt that he is among the best blues guitarists walking the planet.
There's nothing quite like a sold-out show summertime show in the open air. While indoor arena concerts often offer a better environment for the sound and lights, there's something about the heat of a summer night that serves as a catalyst for the energy exchange between a band and an audience. Tom and the band were welcomed onstage at Marcus Amphitheater with a roar worthy of the venue's 25,000-capacity. Promptly launching in "Listen to Her Heart," Tom and the guys took the crowd on a musical tour of their three-decade-plus history including cuts from many albums in their catalog including four songs off their latest slab, Mojo. As the last strains of "American Girl" rang out over the amphitheater, the Heartbreakers gathered at center stage, soaking in the appreciative Summerfest crowd. The Big Gig, indeed.