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editor's note
The Strokes / Tom Petty
September 26, 2006 - Hollywood Bowl - Los Angeles, CA
by Ashley Graham

There is something very strange about seeing a band play a gigantic amphitheatre opening for a musical legend, that you have on other occasions stood less than two feet from while they were on stage. Multiply that by two if the band is your favorite, a band you’ve dedicated much thought to and who, while halfway through totaling the dollars spent on them, their music, their merch, et al, you start to feel a bit nauseous. This “largeness” is distancing, sure, but there is also an overwhelming sense of pride involved. You transform into a beaming parent, watching from a distance (in this case a really, really far distance) as your baby plays the triangle with precision at their Christmas recital. (Or you feel like dream-me felt that night I imagined Seaweed Jack opening up for Van Halen at the Gorge…)

Such was the case when my eyes laid witness to the Strokes opening for Tom Petty at the Hollywood Bowl. Yeah, I was realllllllllllly damn far away from the stage, but the dumb smile plastered on my face throughout the set was surely not indicative of any type of disappointment. I looked on as ma’ boys rocked one of the most beautiful venues in the country, and with class as only the Strokes can muster.

Playing a set consisting predominately of randoms from the new album,
First Impressions of Earth (“Ize of the World,” “Red Light,” “Vision of Division,” etc), the Strokes laid waste to a crowd that, let’s face it, wasn’t theirs. There were occasional dancers here and there, and everyone knew “Someday,” yes, but for the most part this was a crowd eager to see what they paid their $75+ for, Mr. Petty. The Strokes, however, were nothing if not well respected, well liked, and well received. They were fabulous. Beam on.

(Yes, I’m biased. These are my babes.)

The hour I stayed for Tom Petty was a repeat of when I saw him last (this was sometime when I was in high school, I think after my junior year which would put us in 2001). He’s solid and strong, always entertaining.

The highlight of this tour is undoubtedly the “addition” of Stevie Nicks to the traveling pack (“In all the world, there’s only one person who could be considered an honorary Heartbreaker, and that’s Stevie Nicks). Stevie emerges mid-set for the pair’s duet “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” and it’s frickin’ unbelievable. I can go to countless club dates and I can label acts I see as some of the strongest performers my ears and eyes have watched atop a stage, but there is something wholly different about seeing two legendary performers like Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks take the stage together. In a word, it is awing. There is nothing like it.

(For the record, there was no sign of “Last Nite” anywhere in the Strokes’ set, I’m in the process of checking on whether Petty’s featured “American Girl.” Will update as soon as information is secured.)