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FANS REPORT ON THE RED CARPET PREMIERE OF RUNNIN\' DOWN A DREAM (SPOILER)

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  • FANS REPORT ON THE RED CARPET PREMIERE OF RUNNIN\' DOWN A DREAM (SPOILER)
    Oct 08, 2007

    The red carpet premiere of Peter Bogdanovich\'s Runnin\' Down A Dream
    took place last Tuesday October 2 at the Steven J. Ross Theater on the
    Warner Brothers Pictures lot in Burbank, CA.

    Two wonderful fans who attended the event were kind enough to share
    their reflections on the evening. We would like to thank Stephen Lubman
    and Melanie Strickland for going above and beyond by writing such complete
    and extensive pieces. We have posted them below for your enjoyment. Please
    note these reviews may reveal possible spoilers from the film.

    *********************

    Tom Petty Home Movies - Bogdanovich Style

    One Fan's Perspective on 'Runnin' Down
    a Dream' and the Premiere Experience

    by Stephen Lubman

    Foreword

    "What do you expect? He's just a Fan!" - Spoken
    by the Rolling Stone headquarters fact checker in Cameron Crowe's
    film 'Almost Famous'.

    Early feedback suggested that my observations could be criticized as too 'gushing'.

    "But what if 'Runnin' Down A Dream' is really
    that good?" was my only reply.

    Whether hard core fan of first timer, every individual lucky enough to
    experience this amazing story will draw their own conclusions about what
    Peter Bogdanovich's documentary means to them.

    But I stand behind every word.

    And so, for your consideration I present my perspective - straight from
    the heart.

    -Stephen Lubman

    Dreamville

    On Tuesday, October 2nd the premiere of the Peter Bogdanovich movie "Runnin' Down
    A Dream" took place at the Warner Brothers Pictures lot in Burbank,
    California. What follows is one fan's perspective on the documentary,
    the premiere, and what it felt like to be in the presence of greatness.

    From the onset we knew this would be an amazing evening. Our small tompetty.com
    entourage included Melanie, Athena and me. Thrilled to have secured press
    passes to cover the premiere for Tom Petty's web site, each of us
    feels deeply honored and amazingly lucky to have been present and we wish
    that every fan could have had that chance.

    We came equipped with note pads, cameras, and above all, anticipation.
    Upon our arrival at the Steven J. Ross Theater we checked in, deployed
    along the Red Carpet outside and waited - adorned with self adhesive
    press passes and huge grins.

    When the dignitaries began to arrive the press photographers were snapping
    photos wildly. Camera flashes were flashing, and members of the press were
    calling out 'could you please turn to your right' or 'how
    about standing near the movie poster'. But my favorite was 'how
    about some air guitar?'

    At times it looked and felt like a game of 'Twister' in the
    press area, with photographers wrapping around each other to get 'the
    shot'. The dignitaries seemed to all be in quite a festive mood and
    it wasn't really surprising. Everyone there was assembled to celebrate
    the long and distinguished history of one of America's finest Rock
    and Roll bands - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

    Peter Bogdanovich spoke before the screening began, and said that he didn't
    really know much about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' music before
    he set upon the two year odyssey that resulted in this amazing documentary.
    He said he was intrigued with what he saw as a "Truly American story." Peter's
    journey of discovery led him straight to the heart of Dreamville - The
    smile on his face said it all. And in what is surely a blessing to Tom
    Petty and the Heartbreakers fans around the world, Peter took along with
    him his cameras and his legendary storytelling skills and now we have all
    been gifted with his discoveries.

    Buried Treasure

    What do you get when you combine the finest rock and roll musicians, film
    makers, and a vast archive of still photos, film, and audio and video recordings
    new and old? For one, you have an incredible editing job to do. The collection
    included over 500 of hours of footage, countless hours of audio recordings,
    thousands of still photos.

    These are unbelievable moments, captured on all kinds of media ranging
    from home movies and televised performances to snapshots, studio recording
    sessions, interviews and more. Choosing the best of the best must have
    been akin to picking which child you love the most - it just doesn't
    compute.

    Editing this massive collection down to a manageable finished product
    would have been an insurmountable task for a lesser individual. If we hadn't
    been told of the magnitude of the effort, we would have never suspected
    it were so based upon the quality of the finished documentary because what
    emerged from the creative process is four hours of pure brilliance.

    Anything That's Rock And Roll

    The Rock and Roll amphitheater is a cavernous space. Before the show begins
    it is a beehive of activity. Packed to the gills with giddy fans, the air
    is thick with energy and anticipation. It is a portal between the everyday
    world, and the world of discovery and imagination - a liminal space.

    With a montage of incredible panning shots and fades portraying the darkened
    arena illuminated by thousands of lighters, cell phones and glow sticks
    held aloft by fans, and complimented with stunning surround soundtrack
    projecting the eerie echoing of cheers radiating and reflecting around
    the amphitheater, Bogdanovich perfectly conveys the otherworldly feeling
    experienced by the audience before the band takes the stage and the first
    note is played - without a single line of dialog.

    This is an incredible example of film making, and it represents only one
    gleeming facet of this gem.

    You're Gonna Get It!

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers fans will be amazed at the width and depth
    of this documentary. Each milestone in the band's history is carefully
    explored. From The Epics, to Mudcrutch to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
    and all points in between, we are treated to the glorious story of the
    artist's drive and stubborn determination, their collaboration, their
    tragedy and triumph.

    And its all true.

    Honest and comprehensive, 'Running Down A Dream' explores
    the amazing evolutionary journey of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with
    a level of fidelity that has never before been presented.

    At various times the audience cheered and laughed. They also wept. And
    together we celebrated the miracle of Rock and Roll - a truly American
    art form that deserves the accolades heaped upon it and represents a cornerstone
    of our collective identity, deeply embedded in our sub consciousness.

    Into The Great Wide Open

    Through the eyes of the film maker, we see a band of brothers in music
    and a family in the truest sense of the word. These artists could have
    never known exactly where they would arrive once they embarked upon their
    journey from Gainesville. It was a journey so filled with risks (and so
    unbelievable were it not true) that as various situations were revealed
    on the screen the audience roared with laughter at the sheer improbability,
    or sat dumbfounded when the razor thin lines dividing success from failure
    and triumph from tragedy were revealed.

    We were deeply moved by the chapters that focused upon Howie\'s contributions
    to the band and his tragic loss. The documentary presented his amazing
    voice as I have never heard it before.

    I Won't Back Down

    From the shocking story of the arson caused fire at Tom\'s Malibu home
    with \'It will all work out\' playing softly in the background, to the David
    and Goliath tale of Tom's numerous battles to maintain high standards
    and integrity in the face of a world spinning towards mediocrity, the documentary
    reinforced the view of Tom Petty as the archetypal American Hero. It is
    a timely example of what it should mean to be an American and reside in
    the \'Home of the Brave\'.

    Throughout there is a strong sub-theme associated with all of the band
    member's evolution over the course of their collaboration together.
    The artists have played an important role in a number of positive changes
    we have seen in Rock and Roll over the years, and although this fact may
    not be trumpeted blatantly in the film, the sense of conflict, adaptation
    and change is compellingly conveyed.

    Many fans will be amazed at the candor and honesty of individuals interviewed
    in the film. For those of us who are not \'flies on the wall\' of the recording
    studio, this may be the best chance we ever get to study elements of the
    dynamic between artists in the throes of the creative process.

    Angel Dream

    The outpouring of admiration for these artists was evident in every aspect
    of the premiere and reflected the passion that the artists themselves have
    for music. For music can penetrate straight to the soul and affect us in
    beautiful and mysterious ways and therefore it is completely fitting those
    who have wielded musical magic so proficiently should be celebrated and
    loved.

    They have cast a spell upon our hearts and delivered us to places unimaginable.

    Through the documentary, every fan has now been gifted with the opportunity
    to peer through an amazing view port into the heart of this wonderful band.
    Together with the companion volume edited by Warren Zanes, they form a
    vast compendium of personal experiences, moments captured in time and heartfelt
    words written and spoken by those who truly know.

    Luna

    Four hours after we saw the first moments of the film, and after a huge
    round of applause and celebration, we exited the Steven J. Ross Theater
    and I glanced upward and saw a brilliant half moon floating across the
    starry sky.

    A symbol of life and rebirth and serving as a reminder that only change
    is a constant, it seemingly reflected the incredible perseverance and adaptation
    exhibited by the band members over the course of their careers to date.

    While the joyous sounds of music still echoed in my mind and we stood
    together speechless, I wondered what amazing works are yet to come from
    the collaboration we know as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. And they
    are sure to come.

    For my part, I hope that Peter Bogdanovich is taking excellent care of
    himself because based upon the overwhelming success of this documentary
    I expect that he may very well be called upon a few decades hence to craft
    and present the next installment of this amazing story.

    ***********************

    Some Days Are Diamonds

    Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers World Premiere Of
    Runnin\' Down A Dream

    Entering The Mystery Of The Dream

    Losers do occasionally get lucky. Such was the case for three Tom Petty And
    The Heartbreaker fans when we were invited to attend the world premiere of
    Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers and director Peter Bogdanovich\'s music
    epic Runnin\' Down A Dream on October 2, 2007 at the Steven J. Ross Theatre
    on the site of Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank, California. Our mission was
    to
    review the film for the band\'s website, to report back to the fanbase our take
    on
    the documentary. Upon arriving at the theatre deep in the heart of Warner Bros.
    Studio movie lots, we were escorted to three empty seats positioned in a reserved
    section partitioned off in the last three rows of the front central area of
    the theatre.
    We scooted into our seats and realized that they were excellent. In addition,
    on each
    chair had been placed a copy of the coffee table companion book to the film,
    both
    entitled Runnin\' Down A Dream. It occurred to me that since we hadn\'t been
    given
    programs the books were to suffice as complimentary components to the film
    version
    of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers 30 year mysterious history.

    Peter Bogdanovich came out onto the stage in front of the movie screen and
    explained to the audience that he had the arduous task of sorting through
    400 hours of video footage collected by the band over their 30 year life span
    and he himself had filmed 100 hours of live footage on tour last year and in
    interviews with friends and coworkers specifically done for the documentary.
    Originally they had managed to cut the film footage down to 5 hours and came
    to the conclusion it would be difficult for any audience to sit through something
    so long. It was finally shortened to the core time length of just under 4 hours
    to
    be cut almost in half by an intermission.

    After his introductory statements the house lights went down and the screen
    opened to darkness illuminated by thousands of cell phone lights within a live
    concert venue, beginning the film with the end of a show, and by doing so creating
    a direct connection between where the last tour ended and the release of the
    film takes
    off. The movie then progressed to tell the unfolding of the true history of
    a wild band
    begun by a teenage Tom Petty who as a child had come under the heavy influence
    of
    meeting Elvis at age 11. Early days of his original band Epic evolved into
    the parties
    with his second band Mudcrutch performing weekends at the country farmhouse
    outside
    Gainesville, Florida. Stories of Tom convincing Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench
    to quit college and embark with him upon a ridiculous rock and roll illusion
    to Los
    Angeles, to be joined along the way by future band members and expanded to
    embrace
    side projects with a large circle of musicians and actors, are laced with original
    photos and
    film footage. For any fan, whether long time or novice, these images are priceless.

    Runnin\' Down A Dream is essentially a film that sets the Tom Petty And The
    Heartbreaker
    story straight. 30 \"high school\" years of mysterious happenings captured
    on film. From tour
    bus rides to world travel. From home movies to the finest and most modern video
    production.
    Blended into one crystalline digital, cathartic, hilarious, harmonious mystery
    of a dream they
    never gave up on. The dream to be rock and roll musicians. Along the way there
    were
    lessons to be learned, tragedies to overcome, laughter to live, songs to be
    written, but most
    of all truth to be processed and encapsulated in their recordings and shared
    at live performances.
    An eternal truth that to this day continues to touch the hearts of all their
    listeners. In addition
    to tour adventures, the film is clearly a video discography, the telling of
    the tale of how each
    one of their albums was written and recorded, along with any trials or highlights
    that
    accompanied every release.

    Tom Petty comes across as being the rebel leader of a band of happy musicians.
    He states during
    the period of writing the songs for The Last DJ that he was \"watching
    the world (of professional
    music) decline and could not sit back and not comment on it.\" One gets
    an instinctual feeling that
    all of his musical expressions encircle this same perspective. Some of the
    last songs in the film
    denote this sensitivity to worldly problems. Live versions of \'Room At The
    Top \' and clips from
    the cover of \'Mystic Eyes\', when Tom goes into a rap on giving the concert
    audience one moment
    where everything is ok in their lives and in general, let listeners and viewers
    know he has a heart
    that cares about everything that goes on around him, be that in his immediate
    life or in the entire world.

    And while the film projects true stories of sadness experienced during some
    stages of personal
    and band development, the overall message is one of joyous triumph because,
    as we all know,
    the dream they were running down did come true. It is a success story. And
    one of inspiration
    and hope. Runnin\' Down A Dream is bound to ignite a new generation of rebellious
    rock and
    rollers who take it upon themselves to follow their hearts and aim high for
    a better world. Who can
    say what might happen if a new wave of happy musicians are unleashed upon the
    world? No
    doubt it is destined to become an American Classic because Tom Petty And The
    Heartbreakers
    already are. While the band is definitely rooted in America, the film is a
    gift to the fans around
    the world. A chance for Tom and the boys to extend the mystery out into the
    great wide open,
    beyond the constraints of any boundaries or borders.

    Let Love Open The Door

    The premiere audience was given a half hour at intermission to take time to
    stretch
    our legs and enjoy the refreshments provided by Warner Bros. Studios. The filmmaker
    was allowing us time to catch our breath before we re-entered the dream being
    visualized
    on the screen. In anticipation, I went in early and was surprised to find I
    was one of the first
    back in the theatre. It gave me time to look through the coffee table book
    and to see that
    it did reflect in a still life many pieces of the film and thus was something
    we could take
    home to hold in our hands and hearts until the film was finally released on
    DVD.

    The audience filtered back into the theatre and soon we were immersed into
    the second half
    of Runnin\' Down A Dream. Few people had left during intermission. Most of the
    premiere
    viewers had stuck around for the final details of the mystery. And as in a
    mystery novel, we
    were slowly fed clues as to how the dream had come true, after all of the early
    year of
    hardship Tom and the Heartbreakers had overcome to hit the higher ground of
    success.
    It was in this second half that the true meaning of what it was to be connected
    to this band,
    as a member or even as a fan, came through in rainbow colors. Discussion along
    the lines of
    \"meant to be\" and \"family\" predominated. And I thought
    to myself of how so many of us
    fans who had jumped on (or been sucked into the vortex) over the years with
    the band
    and with each other, see our own union with Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
    as a family
    sort of thing. That the bond Tom describes with his band mates as being \"family\" is
    not
    unlike what we all feel for each other. In some magical manner Tom Petty And
    The Heartbreakers
    love for each other as fellow musicians transcends the stage and moves out
    into the audience.
    It is this feeling of love that opens the door to our hearts and keeps us coming
    back for more.

    As the movie finished and the house lights came up we became aware of how
    good of
    seats we had been given. Sitting behind us to the left was Jeff Lynne. And
    to the right
    was Benmont Tench. We had been placed in the section of the theatre reserved
    for the band.
    A smile struck my face as I thought about this ironic twist. We and other the
    premiere attendees
    were the captive audience of the band. Guinea pigs who they got to watch respond
    to their
    heart exposure. What a strange feeling to be sitting in front of the musicians
    themselves,
    for them to watch us after so many years of standing and staring at them. A
    simple twist
    of fate, and yet for the three fans who were given the privilege of being amongst
    the test
    models, studied for response, what an incredible honor and elevating experience
    it was.
    Only then did we realize how much this band Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
    loves
    their fans and audience. As drummer Steve Ferrone states in the film that expects
    to be
    with them for the rest of his life, I am certain all of us fans can assure
    the band we will
    proudly be there for the long run, following that dream wherever it might lead.
    With Tom Petty as the dream driver.

    Oneworldview ~ Melanie Strickland

     

webcrew's picture
on October 8, 2007

The red carpet premiere of Peter Bogdanovich\'s Runnin\' Down A Dream
took place last Tuesday October 2 at the Steven J. Ross Theater on the
Warner Brothers Pictures lot in Burbank, CA.

Two wonderful fans who attended the event were kind enough to share
their reflections on the evening. We would like to thank Stephen Lubman
and Melanie Strickland for going above and beyond by writing such complete
and extensive pieces. We have posted them below for your enjoyment. Please
note these reviews may reveal possible spoilers from the film.

*********************

Tom Petty Home Movies - Bogdanovich Style

One Fan's Perspective on 'Runnin' Down
a Dream' and the Premiere Experience

by Stephen Lubman

Foreword

"What do you expect? He's just a Fan!" - Spoken
by the Rolling Stone headquarters fact checker in Cameron Crowe's
film 'Almost Famous'.

Early feedback suggested that my observations could be criticized as too 'gushing'.

"But what if 'Runnin' Down A Dream' is really
that good?" was my only reply.

Whether hard core fan of first timer, every individual lucky enough to
experience this amazing story will draw their own conclusions about what
Peter Bogdanovich's documentary means to them.

But I stand behind every word.

And so, for your consideration I present my perspective - straight from
the heart.

-Stephen Lubman

Dreamville

On Tuesday, October 2nd the premiere of the Peter Bogdanovich movie "Runnin' Down
A Dream" took place at the Warner Brothers Pictures lot in Burbank,
California. What follows is one fan's perspective on the documentary,
the premiere, and what it felt like to be in the presence of greatness.

From the onset we knew this would be an amazing evening. Our small tompetty.com
entourage included Melanie, Athena and me. Thrilled to have secured press
passes to cover the premiere for Tom Petty's web site, each of us
feels deeply honored and amazingly lucky to have been present and we wish
that every fan could have had that chance.

We came equipped with note pads, cameras, and above all, anticipation.
Upon our arrival at the Steven J. Ross Theater we checked in, deployed
along the Red Carpet outside and waited - adorned with self adhesive
press passes and huge grins.

When the dignitaries began to arrive the press photographers were snapping
photos wildly. Camera flashes were flashing, and members of the press were
calling out 'could you please turn to your right' or 'how
about standing near the movie poster'. But my favorite was 'how
about some air guitar?'

At times it looked and felt like a game of 'Twister' in the
press area, with photographers wrapping around each other to get 'the
shot'. The dignitaries seemed to all be in quite a festive mood and
it wasn't really surprising. Everyone there was assembled to celebrate
the long and distinguished history of one of America's finest Rock
and Roll bands - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Peter Bogdanovich spoke before the screening began, and said that he didn't
really know much about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' music before
he set upon the two year odyssey that resulted in this amazing documentary.
He said he was intrigued with what he saw as a "Truly American story." Peter's
journey of discovery led him straight to the heart of Dreamville - The
smile on his face said it all. And in what is surely a blessing to Tom
Petty and the Heartbreakers fans around the world, Peter took along with
him his cameras and his legendary storytelling skills and now we have all
been gifted with his discoveries.

Buried Treasure

What do you get when you combine the finest rock and roll musicians, film
makers, and a vast archive of still photos, film, and audio and video recordings
new and old? For one, you have an incredible editing job to do. The collection
included over 500 of hours of footage, countless hours of audio recordings,
thousands of still photos.

These are unbelievable moments, captured on all kinds of media ranging
from home movies and televised performances to snapshots, studio recording
sessions, interviews and more. Choosing the best of the best must have
been akin to picking which child you love the most - it just doesn't
compute.

Editing this massive collection down to a manageable finished product
would have been an insurmountable task for a lesser individual. If we hadn't
been told of the magnitude of the effort, we would have never suspected
it were so based upon the quality of the finished documentary because what
emerged from the creative process is four hours of pure brilliance.

Anything That's Rock And Roll

The Rock and Roll amphitheater is a cavernous space. Before the show begins
it is a beehive of activity. Packed to the gills with giddy fans, the air
is thick with energy and anticipation. It is a portal between the everyday
world, and the world of discovery and imagination - a liminal space.

With a montage of incredible panning shots and fades portraying the darkened
arena illuminated by thousands of lighters, cell phones and glow sticks
held aloft by fans, and complimented with stunning surround soundtrack
projecting the eerie echoing of cheers radiating and reflecting around
the amphitheater, Bogdanovich perfectly conveys the otherworldly feeling
experienced by the audience before the band takes the stage and the first
note is played - without a single line of dialog.

This is an incredible example of film making, and it represents only one
gleeming facet of this gem.

You're Gonna Get It!

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers fans will be amazed at the width and depth
of this documentary. Each milestone in the band's history is carefully
explored. From The Epics, to Mudcrutch to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
and all points in between, we are treated to the glorious story of the
artist's drive and stubborn determination, their collaboration, their
tragedy and triumph.

And its all true.

Honest and comprehensive, 'Running Down A Dream' explores
the amazing evolutionary journey of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with
a level of fidelity that has never before been presented.

At various times the audience cheered and laughed. They also wept. And
together we celebrated the miracle of Rock and Roll - a truly American
art form that deserves the accolades heaped upon it and represents a cornerstone
of our collective identity, deeply embedded in our sub consciousness.

Into The Great Wide Open

Through the eyes of the film maker, we see a band of brothers in music
and a family in the truest sense of the word. These artists could have
never known exactly where they would arrive once they embarked upon their
journey from Gainesville. It was a journey so filled with risks (and so
unbelievable were it not true) that as various situations were revealed
on the screen the audience roared with laughter at the sheer improbability,
or sat dumbfounded when the razor thin lines dividing success from failure
and triumph from tragedy were revealed.

We were deeply moved by the chapters that focused upon Howie\'s contributions
to the band and his tragic loss. The documentary presented his amazing
voice as I have never heard it before.

I Won't Back Down

From the shocking story of the arson caused fire at Tom\'s Malibu home
with \'It will all work out\' playing softly in the background, to the David
and Goliath tale of Tom's numerous battles to maintain high standards
and integrity in the face of a world spinning towards mediocrity, the documentary
reinforced the view of Tom Petty as the archetypal American Hero. It is
a timely example of what it should mean to be an American and reside in
the \'Home of the Brave\'.

Throughout there is a strong sub-theme associated with all of the band
member's evolution over the course of their collaboration together.
The artists have played an important role in a number of positive changes
we have seen in Rock and Roll over the years, and although this fact may
not be trumpeted blatantly in the film, the sense of conflict, adaptation
and change is compellingly conveyed.

Many fans will be amazed at the candor and honesty of individuals interviewed
in the film. For those of us who are not \'flies on the wall\' of the recording
studio, this may be the best chance we ever get to study elements of the
dynamic between artists in the throes of the creative process.

Angel Dream

The outpouring of admiration for these artists was evident in every aspect
of the premiere and reflected the passion that the artists themselves have
for music. For music can penetrate straight to the soul and affect us in
beautiful and mysterious ways and therefore it is completely fitting those
who have wielded musical magic so proficiently should be celebrated and
loved.

They have cast a spell upon our hearts and delivered us to places unimaginable.

Through the documentary, every fan has now been gifted with the opportunity
to peer through an amazing view port into the heart of this wonderful band.
Together with the companion volume edited by Warren Zanes, they form a
vast compendium of personal experiences, moments captured in time and heartfelt
words written and spoken by those who truly know.

Luna

Four hours after we saw the first moments of the film, and after a huge
round of applause and celebration, we exited the Steven J. Ross Theater
and I glanced upward and saw a brilliant half moon floating across the
starry sky.

A symbol of life and rebirth and serving as a reminder that only change
is a constant, it seemingly reflected the incredible perseverance and adaptation
exhibited by the band members over the course of their careers to date.

While the joyous sounds of music still echoed in my mind and we stood
together speechless, I wondered what amazing works are yet to come from
the collaboration we know as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. And they
are sure to come.

For my part, I hope that Peter Bogdanovich is taking excellent care of
himself because based upon the overwhelming success of this documentary
I expect that he may very well be called upon a few decades hence to craft
and present the next installment of this amazing story.

***********************

Some Days Are Diamonds

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers World Premiere Of
Runnin\' Down A Dream

Entering The Mystery Of The Dream

Losers do occasionally get lucky. Such was the case for three Tom Petty And
The Heartbreaker fans when we were invited to attend the world premiere of
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers and director Peter Bogdanovich\'s music
epic Runnin\' Down A Dream on October 2, 2007 at the Steven J. Ross Theatre
on the site of Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank, California. Our mission was
to
review the film for the band\'s website, to report back to the fanbase our take
on
the documentary. Upon arriving at the theatre deep in the heart of Warner Bros.
Studio movie lots, we were escorted to three empty seats positioned in a reserved
section partitioned off in the last three rows of the front central area of
the theatre.
We scooted into our seats and realized that they were excellent. In addition,
on each
chair had been placed a copy of the coffee table companion book to the film,
both
entitled Runnin\' Down A Dream. It occurred to me that since we hadn\'t been
given
programs the books were to suffice as complimentary components to the film
version
of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers 30 year mysterious history.

Peter Bogdanovich came out onto the stage in front of the movie screen and
explained to the audience that he had the arduous task of sorting through
400 hours of video footage collected by the band over their 30 year life span
and he himself had filmed 100 hours of live footage on tour last year and in
interviews with friends and coworkers specifically done for the documentary.
Originally they had managed to cut the film footage down to 5 hours and came
to the conclusion it would be difficult for any audience to sit through something
so long. It was finally shortened to the core time length of just under 4 hours
to
be cut almost in half by an intermission.

After his introductory statements the house lights went down and the screen
opened to darkness illuminated by thousands of cell phone lights within a live
concert venue, beginning the film with the end of a show, and by doing so creating
a direct connection between where the last tour ended and the release of the
film takes
off. The movie then progressed to tell the unfolding of the true history of
a wild band
begun by a teenage Tom Petty who as a child had come under the heavy influence
of
meeting Elvis at age 11. Early days of his original band Epic evolved into
the parties
with his second band Mudcrutch performing weekends at the country farmhouse
outside
Gainesville, Florida. Stories of Tom convincing Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench
to quit college and embark with him upon a ridiculous rock and roll illusion
to Los
Angeles, to be joined along the way by future band members and expanded to
embrace
side projects with a large circle of musicians and actors, are laced with original
photos and
film footage. For any fan, whether long time or novice, these images are priceless.

Runnin\' Down A Dream is essentially a film that sets the Tom Petty And The
Heartbreaker
story straight. 30 \"high school\" years of mysterious happenings captured
on film. From tour
bus rides to world travel. From home movies to the finest and most modern video
production.
Blended into one crystalline digital, cathartic, hilarious, harmonious mystery
of a dream they
never gave up on. The dream to be rock and roll musicians. Along the way there
were
lessons to be learned, tragedies to overcome, laughter to live, songs to be
written, but most
of all truth to be processed and encapsulated in their recordings and shared
at live performances.
An eternal truth that to this day continues to touch the hearts of all their
listeners. In addition
to tour adventures, the film is clearly a video discography, the telling of
the tale of how each
one of their albums was written and recorded, along with any trials or highlights
that
accompanied every release.

Tom Petty comes across as being the rebel leader of a band of happy musicians.
He states during
the period of writing the songs for The Last DJ that he was \"watching
the world (of professional
music) decline and could not sit back and not comment on it.\" One gets
an instinctual feeling that
all of his musical expressions encircle this same perspective. Some of the
last songs in the film
denote this sensitivity to worldly problems. Live versions of \'Room At The
Top \' and clips from
the cover of \'Mystic Eyes\', when Tom goes into a rap on giving the concert
audience one moment
where everything is ok in their lives and in general, let listeners and viewers
know he has a heart
that cares about everything that goes on around him, be that in his immediate
life or in the entire world.

And while the film projects true stories of sadness experienced during some
stages of personal
and band development, the overall message is one of joyous triumph because,
as we all know,
the dream they were running down did come true. It is a success story. And
one of inspiration
and hope. Runnin\' Down A Dream is bound to ignite a new generation of rebellious
rock and
rollers who take it upon themselves to follow their hearts and aim high for
a better world. Who can
say what might happen if a new wave of happy musicians are unleashed upon the
world? No
doubt it is destined to become an American Classic because Tom Petty And The
Heartbreakers
already are. While the band is definitely rooted in America, the film is a
gift to the fans around
the world. A chance for Tom and the boys to extend the mystery out into the
great wide open,
beyond the constraints of any boundaries or borders.

Let Love Open The Door

The premiere audience was given a half hour at intermission to take time to
stretch
our legs and enjoy the refreshments provided by Warner Bros. Studios. The filmmaker
was allowing us time to catch our breath before we re-entered the dream being
visualized
on the screen. In anticipation, I went in early and was surprised to find I
was one of the first
back in the theatre. It gave me time to look through the coffee table book
and to see that
it did reflect in a still life many pieces of the film and thus was something
we could take
home to hold in our hands and hearts until the film was finally released on
DVD.

The audience filtered back into the theatre and soon we were immersed into
the second half
of Runnin\' Down A Dream. Few people had left during intermission. Most of the
premiere
viewers had stuck around for the final details of the mystery. And as in a
mystery novel, we
were slowly fed clues as to how the dream had come true, after all of the early
year of
hardship Tom and the Heartbreakers had overcome to hit the higher ground of
success.
It was in this second half that the true meaning of what it was to be connected
to this band,
as a member or even as a fan, came through in rainbow colors. Discussion along
the lines of
\"meant to be\" and \"family\" predominated. And I thought
to myself of how so many of us
fans who had jumped on (or been sucked into the vortex) over the years with
the band
and with each other, see our own union with Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
as a family
sort of thing. That the bond Tom describes with his band mates as being \"family\" is
not
unlike what we all feel for each other. In some magical manner Tom Petty And
The Heartbreakers
love for each other as fellow musicians transcends the stage and moves out
into the audience.
It is this feeling of love that opens the door to our hearts and keeps us coming
back for more.

As the movie finished and the house lights came up we became aware of how
good of
seats we had been given. Sitting behind us to the left was Jeff Lynne. And
to the right
was Benmont Tench. We had been placed in the section of the theatre reserved
for the band.
A smile struck my face as I thought about this ironic twist. We and other the
premiere attendees
were the captive audience of the band. Guinea pigs who they got to watch respond
to their
heart exposure. What a strange feeling to be sitting in front of the musicians
themselves,
for them to watch us after so many years of standing and staring at them. A
simple twist
of fate, and yet for the three fans who were given the privilege of being amongst
the test
models, studied for response, what an incredible honor and elevating experience
it was.
Only then did we realize how much this band Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
loves
their fans and audience. As drummer Steve Ferrone states in the film that expects
to be
with them for the rest of his life, I am certain all of us fans can assure
the band we will
proudly be there for the long run, following that dream wherever it might lead.
With Tom Petty as the dream driver.

Oneworldview ~ Melanie Strickland

 

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