LIVE: Tom Petty And The Heatbreakers @ Hyde Park 09.07.17

The Killers brought Sam’s Town – and their stadium filling Americana to Hyde Park last night, but today – on the final day of BST Hyde Park – things are a little calmer.

The Lumineers’ afternoon set is everything you’d expect from the American Mumford & Sons – albeit with fewer members and added female inclusion. The set draws completely from their first two albums, with nothing new premiered; however, as they’re fresh from a support slot on U2’s American Joshua Tree tour dates they may have been a little preoccupied of late. ‘Hey Ho’ – their anthem – appears surprisingly early in the set, though the whole hour isn’t building to a crescendo, but instead provides the ideal soundtrack for soaking up the sun.

Arguably the most anticipated non-headline slot of this year’s festival, Stevie Nicks‘ arrival on stage is greeted with just as big a crowd as tonight’s headliner. There’s a healthy dose of Fleetwood Mac tracks, with ‘Gypsy’ and ‘Dreams’ cropping up fairly early, in between solo tracks that UK fans don’t get too many chances to hear live. In between tracks, Stevie is a natural story teller – although admittedly not as much as she’d like to be, as she’s on more of a strict time limit today: “At my own shows the stories in between the songs add up to 40 minutes of the night,” she tells the audience, and you imagine that given the choice they’d hear them all.

Non Mac numbers include ‘Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream’) – which Nicks admits to being inspired by the Twilight tween fiction – “It reminded me of relationships I had” – and pre-Fleetwood Mac track ‘Crying In The Night’. ‘Stand Back’ embraces the ’80s, with synths turned up, while Stevie shares the fact that “before this year, some of these songs haven’t been performed since 1981”.

Clearly more solo dates are needed. ‘Edge Of Seventeen’ ends the solo section, as two Fleetwood Mac songs (‘Rhiannon’ and ‘Landslide’) bring this long overdue appearance to an end, the former a song never left off of her setlists. “The only reason for me coming here is to make more memories,” she shares with the crowd, and how nice it would be for us all if she brought her four bandmates over next year for something we’d never forget.

Closing 2017’s run of BST Hyde Park shows, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers play a show that’s not only highly anticipated, but also surprisingly popular. Many have travelled from across the continent for this – one of very few UK appearances in two decades; however, for many, this might have been the only headliner from whose back catalogue they couldn’t hum a song from. Which isn’t too surprising, when you realise that of thirteen studio albums, only two have hit the top ten in the UK.

Compared to the polished performance from The Killers last night, there’s something raw about The Heartbreakers as they take to the stage, checking their instruments, before Petty joins them on stage. “Have you got your mojo out there?” he asks, seemingly in awe of this huge turn out, before kicking off with ‘Rockin’ Around (With You)’. The screens on The Great Oak Stage are particularly impressive, playing scenes from the band’s first UK appearance (on The Old Grey Whistle Test) behind this track.

From here it’s a celebration of forty years, taking into account tracks that get entire families dancing (‘Mary Jane’s Last Dance’), and solo tracks accompanied by tens of thousands of people singing along (‘Free Fallin’). If anyone was only here for The Lumineers and Stevie Nicks, you can bet they left a Heartbreakers fan, doomed to continue their life in leather or tassles, with longer hair and more cigarettes.

The highlight of the night comes when Nicks joins Petty on stage for their 1981 track ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’. While it was anticipated, it was still an incredible moment and a highlight of the entire weekend. Roll on BST Hyde Park 2018!

Dan Bull

Dan Bull

Dan Bull

Reviews Editor
London. Likes: Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, Prince Charles Cinema, Duran Duran Dislikes: Soreen, All-hits setlists, "I liked them before everyone else..."