Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are coming to the Intrust Bank Arena on April 26 and this feels like more than a run-of-the-mill concert to me. It feels like a defining moment for the kind of music we’re going to be exposed to in Wichita and in this new arena.
So far, let’s face it, we’ve been country strong. Only a few rock and roll acts have come to town, but there have been a bunch of country and western shows. There have always been those
who say Wichita just isn’t a rock-and-roll town. Look at the city’s No. 1 radio station, for instance. It’s KFDI-FM by a landslide.
Well, I’m a rock-and-roll guy. I always have been. You have to sedate me and tie me down to get me to listen to much country, which is why I don’t buy tickets for Brad Paisley or George Strait or any of those other big country acts that have been so popular in Wichita. I get it, we’re a country state. Most of us have rural roots. We like pick-up trucks and cold beer and girls in short shorts.
Hey wait, I’m a rock and roller and I like all those things. Except maybe pick-ups, but I don’t have that much to haul.
Anyway, my point here is that I want Wichita to be a rock-and-roll town, too. I think this city is big enough for both musical tastes, and you can even throw in some other styles of music, too. I don’t want Wichita to be a one-trick town when it comes to music, especially if that music is country.
Petty and the Heartbreakers are as rock-and-roll as you can get. They happen to be one of my favorite bands, so you can bet I’ll be at this show. I’ve only seen Petty once and that was four years ago at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Our seats were to the right and in back of the stage, so not the best. But they were good enough and Petty puts on a great show. If you go, you will not be disappointed.
He has one of the best and one of the most experienced bands in music. Pay special attention to Mike Campbell, the lead guitarist, who can play with anybody. I’m probably not telling you – especially you Petty fans – anything you don’t already know.
The best part of the concert in Kansas City was that Petty played the two songs – “You Wreck Me” and “Honey Bee” – I wanted him to play most. I love those songs and it always disappoints me when I look in a karaoke book and neither is listed. My karaoke dream is to perform “You Wreck Me” in front of 27 drunk people who are completely unaware that anyone is singing. In the karaoke world, that’s as good as it gets.
Wichita, we need to support this show. We need to buy a bunch of tickets and hopefully fill Intrust Bank Arena. Promoters in the music industry will, in my attention, be paying special attention to this one. If only 6,000 or so show up for the Petty concert, I worry about the capacity of the IBA staff to bring big-time rock acts to town.
So if you’re a rock-and-roll guy, like me, go see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I don’t want to say the future of Wichita’s music scene is at risk here, but I’m not all that sure it isn’t. I don’t want to see the Intrust Bank Arena because Grand Ole Opry Heartland. It’s even OK with me if the arena hosts predominantly country acts.
But don’t take away my rock and roll.