She’s a Good Girl, Crazy ‘Bout Elvis

And, I can cross another name off my rock ‘n roll bucket list.

When Tara moved here in 2012 and we started going to concerts, I named three classic rock artists I wanted to see before I died: Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. All were long-time favorites of mine, and their music entertained and inspired me.

In the span of a little over two years, I have now seen them all.

That, in itself, is kind of remarkable given that all three performers are well into their 60s. After all, time is finite. How long can they keep on rockin’? Bruce looked like he could easily last another decade. Then again, he is The Boss. Bob remained seated through much of the show, but that didn’t stop him from plowing through his hits with gusto. Tom was definitely more spry. From the opening chords of “So You Want To Be a Rock ‘n Roll Star” through hits like “Into The Great Wide Open,” “Refugee,” “Free Fallin’,” “Learning to Fly” and “You Wreck Me,” he brought it. The new material was pretty catchy, too. By the time he walked off the stage two hours later after the final encore – a spirited rendition of “American Girl” complete with red, white and blue stage lighting to hammer home the point – he had rekindled a rock ‘n roll love affair with the crowd. What a show! And let’s not forget The Heartbreakers, who brought great energy to back him up. Tom is humble, engaging and funny…and one hell of a story teller. It was definitely one of the better shows we have seen. And the timing was perfect: his new album, “Hypnotic Eye,” is #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart – and is the first #1 album of his career.

What’s cool is, the opening act wasn’t too shabby, either. Steve Winwood delivered a great set that included solo material (“Higher Love”) in addition to lots of classics from Traffic (“Dear Mr. Fantasy”), Blind Faith (“Can’t Find My Way Home”) and the Spencer Davis Group (“Gimme Some Lovin'”). After he finished, I turned to Tara and said if we left right then and there, we’d have gotten our money’s worth. It felt like we got two concerts in one.

Afterwards, we stepped out into a gentle rain as we waited for the light rail train to whisk us back to our park ‘n ride lot in north Portland. It was nice to avoid the hassle (and cost) of arena parking. Note to self: next time we see a show at the Rose Garden Moda Center, take light rail. We didn’t get home until after midnight, and had to get up early for work this morning, but it was totally worth the sacrifice!

Afterwards, we learned that my friend and business associate Erik had been at the show. We found this out through pictures he posted on Facebook. Here was Erik’s view of TP&TH:


And here was our view:


If that isn’t front row, it’s at least within spitting distance! Can’t say I’m really surprised. This is the guy who once had me over to his mansion on a hill for dinner and beverages. Great guy, that Erik, but I’ve got one thing to say to him:

Help a brother out next time.

So, who’s on your rock ‘n roll bucket list?


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

11 thoughts on “She’s a Good Girl, Crazy ‘Bout Elvis

  1. I love Tom Petty… many hits and the words to his songs really stick with you. I would love to see him in concert. My bucket list was U2 and I’ve seen them twice now. I would call it a religious experience. I would love to see The Killers because I know every song on every album, plus Brandon Flowers’s solo album. I’d also love to see Dave Matthews, but my husband can’t stand his music, plus kids I know who work at the venue he performs at here every summer say it’s the absolute worst crowd EVER! LOL!

    If Steven Page ever returns to BNL, I’d go see them in a heartbeat!


    1. Tom Petty is one of those artists whose music I never tire of! U2? Me, too! I haven’t actually seen them yet but would love to. I also like the Killers. Assuming BNL refers to Barenaked Ladies?


      1. Yes! My kids grew up on my BNL greatest hits CD. They know all the lyrics, so we often reference (Don’t blame it on Yoky!) in funny situations.


  2. “It felt like we got two concerts in one.”

    Mark, you are absolutely right! Holy cow, just the opening act alone was amazing!

    ” By the time he walked off the stage two hours later after the final encore – a spirited rendition of “American Girl” complete with red, white and blue stage lighting to hammer home the point – he had rekindled a rock ‘n roll love affair with the crowd. What a show!”

    Okay, I got chills read that!

    I would love to see Cat Steven, Hall & Oats, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger.

    Great photos! Both yours and your friend Erik.


    1. I actually got chills during one of his songs, too. I think it was when the whole crowd was singing along to “Into The Great Wide Open.” It just felt surreal to actually be seeing one of my favorite artists of all time live and in person! Well, from the upper reaches of the 200 section, but still…


  3. LOL. I like the difference b/t Erik’s picture and yours. Definitely an awesome concert though. U2 was one of my faves, and Paul McCartney was just like…WOW! So amazing. Did you see Joe’s band opened for Ziggy Marley in Madison? Their largest crowd yet – over 6,000 people! I got to see the show too which was cool – no, I didn’t get to meet Ziggy. He is super private. But still what an awesome experience.


    1. Paul McCartney is on Tara’s rock ‘n roll bucket list. Hopefully someday we’ll get a chance to see him! I did see that Joe got to play for Ziggy Marley…that is way cool! What a great break for the band.


  4. I’ve read this before, I don’t know why I didn’t comment. How are you guys? I’m so far behind in my reading. I see your little pop up almost every day when I’m on my computer – telling me you’re on Skype, so I think of you often (get your mind out of the gutter – we’re both happily married!). How are you liking apartment life?


    1. We’re doing well – thanks for asking. I have no regrets about short-selling the townhouse; apartment living is just fine. We have a great place with lots of amenities nearby. It’s almost like we’ve upgraded, in some sense! How are you doing?


      1. Still chugging along. Kelvin had emergency eye surgery last week for a torn & detached retina, his godmother died on Nov. 1 so we had made an unexpected trip to Wpg. a couple weeks ago to say goodbye, Kelvin’s job is going well, I finally got approved for federal disability payments but got refused provincial disability which is going to appeal, so with all that I am really far behind in my reading again, but trying to catch up! Seems I never do though, do I? Glad you are happy, you deserve it!


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