roger mcguinn

At the Fillmore in January 1997, where Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers made their historic 20-night stand to reclaim their musical soul—and leave an indelible impression on their audience.

Photo by Martyn Atkins

PG’s Gear Editorattended four shows of the 20 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played at the Fillmore in January 1997.

In January 1997, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 20-show run at the Fillmore fostered a village, a sense of communion, and something even rarer in the hyper-connected 21st century—organic, word-of-mouth buzz and street chatter. For me, it was a sort of homecoming, too. By ’97, I was a voracious musical omnivore, feasting with the maniacal vigor only a 20-something can muster. But though I was weaned on the stuff, very little of my intake in those days could be filed under classic rock. Still, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were dear to me. An older sister made me a fan, and the songs lived marrow-deep in my bones. When the band announced a run at the Fillmore, I pledged to go.

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