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According to Tom Petty’s biographer Peter Bogdanovich (from the documentary ‘Running Down a Dream (heavily paraphrased)):
“After their first album, Tom Petty and the band went on tour in the UK and Europe to great popular and critical success. When they returned to the US, they sank back into relative oblivion.
While they were touring the Midwest, they’d wake up in Bum Fuck, Ohio (or wherever (probably in the back of their van)) and someone would say, ‘Are we famous in Iowa yet?”
Well, the real reason Steve and I went to Ireland a couple of weeks ago was to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers play in Cork, Ireland. We stayed at the Clarion Cork, a great 4 Star hotel that night, had smoked salmon sandwiches and a bottle of Pinot Grigio for dinner and got Rock & Roll ready to go out.
The Marquee was packed
and it was a great show.
I’d seen them twice before. When I went to the loo, I found myself at the disabled toilet with only a couple of blokes in front of me. We got to chatting. It was their first time and I said “I’ve been to see Tom Petty at the Hollywood Bowl, Raleigh N.C. and, now, Ireland.” One of the guys said, “So you’ve gone from the Beautiful People to the Rednecks to The Irish”. Funny! When he came out of the loo he said ‘I deserve a hug bc I tidied up in there and put the seat down for you”, so we had a cuddle and went our separate ways. I love the camaraderie that occurs at music gigs!
We had great seats with a good view of the stage.
They dug deep and to my surprise and delight played my favourite of their songs, ‘Something Big’ from Hard Promises, 1981. Here’s a vid of this song from their May 2012 Orlando Show.
Of course he finished with ‘American Girl’
So I would say that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are pretty much famous in Cork. Here’s the encore (wrongly attributed to Dublin).