Billed as tribute to Tom on his 60th birthday, Petty Fest 2010 lived up to expectations on all fronts as more than 25 musicians, actors, and artists gathered October 28 at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom for a whiskey-fueled, three-hour tour through Heartbreaker hits and deeper cuts as well as songs from Tomâs solo albums.
Though the birthday boy himself was not in attendance, there was plenty of star power in the house, brought together by Rolling Stone editor Austin Scaggs, who played bass in house band, The Cabin Below Band, and handled emcee duties for the evening.
Kicking things off with the appropriate "Cabin Down Below" and frequent Heartbreakers opener "Listen to Her Heart," Scaggs and company began the parade of guests by welcoming Five OâClock Heroesâ Antony Ellis for a solid take on "Donât Do Me Like That." "The Waiting" off 1981âs Hard Promises requires a singer who can hit the high notes, and Jack Dishel of Only Son and The Moldy Peaches nailed it perfectly, leading the crowd in the first sing-a-long of the night. Fountain of Wayneâs Jody Porter delivered a stellar "Love is a Long Road" before ceding the spotlight to Tyson Ritter from All American Rejects for a double shot of "Breakdown" and "Yer So Bad." Steve Schiltz of Hurricane Bells and Longwave lent his explosive guitar playing to several songs throughout the night, but it was his turn on the mike for "Honey Bee" â aided by some bluesy harmonica from rock shutterbug Danny Clinch â that proved to be the nightâs first musical peak.
The Mooney Suzukiâs Sammy James Jr. was up next, lending his vocals and guitar to "Here Comes My Girl" and "Jamminâ Me." Surprise guest Har Mar Superstar managed to keep his clothes on for a rocking "Refugee" before Nikolai Fraiture, bassist for The Strokes, led a rockinâ version of "I Wonât Back Down" with Nicole Atkins on backing vocals and Heartbreakers publicist Jim Merlis on bass. Jesse Malinâs punk-to-the-bone attitude brought some grit to "American Girl" and "I Need to Know," which juxtaposed nicely with "Mary Janeâs Last Dance," sung by the alluring Catherine Pierce. Saturday Night Liveâs Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis brought some levity to the festivities with hilarious readings of "Stop Dragginâ My Heart Around" and "Even the Losers."
One of the real highlights of the night was Evan Dandoâs low-key acoustic reading of "Face in the Crowd," which seemed perfectly fit for the subdued former Lemonheads frontman. Norah Jones, perhaps the nightâs most highly anticipated guest, appeared next, singing backup vocals to former Moldy Peaches frontman Adam Green on "Itâs Good to Be King" and "Walls." Jones rode shotgun to Scaggsâ lead vocals on "You Wreck Me" before taking center stage on a brilliant "Time to Move On" and a bouncy "You Donât Know How It Feels."
Though listed on the bill, the biggest surprise of the night might have been Reeve Carney, the lead in the newly minted Spiderman musical that opens on Broadway next month. Joined by his brother Zane on guitar, Reeve dropped a killer "Into the Great Wide Open" before the backstage dressing rooms were emptied for sing-a-longs on the Traveling Wilburyâs "Handle with Care" (featuring Nicole Atkins singing the Roy Orbison part), hippie-anthem "Something in the Air" and a show-closing "Free Fallinâ."
THE CABIN DOWN BELOW BAND IS:
Cabin Down Below â featuring Alex Levy of the Cabin Down Below Band
Listen to Her Heart â featuring Reno Bo of the Cabin Down Below Band
Don't Do Me Like That â featuring Antony Ellis (Five OâClock Heroes)
The Waiting â featuring Jack Dishel (Only Son, The Moldy Peaches)
Love is a Long Road â featuring Jody Porter (Fountains of Wayne)
Breakdown â featuring Tyson Ritter (All American Rejects)
Yer So Bad â featuring Tyson Ritter (All American Rejects)
Honey Bee â featuring Steve Schiltz (Hurricane Bells, Longwave) & Danny Clinch
Here Comes My Girl â featuring Sammy James Jr. (The Mooney Suzuki)
Jammin' Me â featuring Sammy James Jr. (The Mooney Suzuki)
Refugee â featuring Har Mar Superstar
I Won't Back Down â featuring Nikolai Fraiture (The Strokes), Nicole Atkins & Heartbreakers publicist Jim Merlis
American Girl â featuring Jesse Malin
I Need to Know â featuring Jesse Malin
Mary Jane's Last Dance â featuring Catherine Pierce (The Pierces)
Stop Dragginâ My Heart Around â featuring Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis (SNL)
Even the Losers â featuring Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis (SNL)
A Face in the Crowd â featuring Evan Dando & Steve Schiltz (Hurricane Bells, Longwave)
Don't Come Around Here No More â featuring Alex Levy of the Cabin Down Below Band with Norah Jones, Nicole Atkins & Catherine Pierce
It's Good to Be King â featuring Adam Green (The Moldy Peaches) & Norah Jones
Wallsâ featuring Adam Green (The Moldy Peaches) & Norah Jones
You Wreck Me â featuring Norah Jones
Time to Move On â featuring Norah Jones
You Don't Know How It Feels â featuring Norah Jones & Danny Clinch
Into the Great Wide Open â featuring Reeve & Zane Carney (U2âs Spiderman Musical)
Runninâ Down a Dream â featuring Josh Lattanzi of the Cabin Down Below Band
Handle with Care â All
Something in the Air â All
Free Fallin' â All
Jack Dishel (Only Son, The Moldy Peaches) nails "The Waiting."
Steve Schiltz (Hurricane Bells, Longwave) shreds "Honey Bee."
Austin Scaggs & Norah Jones duet on "You Wreck Me."
SNL's Will Forte & Jason Sudeikis tag-team "Even the Losers."
Catherine Pierce (The Pierces) sings "Mary Jane's Last Dance" as Austin Scaggs looks on.
Jesse Malin rocks "I Need to Know."
Nikolai Fraiture (The Strokes) hopped on stage with Nicole Atkins for "I Won't Back Down."
Cabin Down Below Band drummer Matt Romano slams the door on "Jammin' Me"
Sammy James Jr. (The Mooney Suzuki) leads the crowd on "Here Comes My Girl."
Nicole Atkins takes Roy Orbison's part on the Traveling Wilbury's "Handle with Care."
Fans sported their Petty shirts at the Bowery Ballroom