Tom Petty Pack Up the Plantation Live 1978 to 1985

Pack Up the Plantation Live is a live album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

This compiles a selection of performances from six different concerts between July 1978 and August 1985. It was released in November 1985.

Tom Petty Pack Up the Plantation Live

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Songs On Tom Petty Pack Up the Plantation Live

  1. So You Want To Be A Rock & Roll Star – 3:37 (cover of the song by The Byrds)
  2. Needles And Pins – 2:25 (cover of the song I know from The Searchers but written by Jack Nitzche and Sonny Bono)
  3. The Waiting – 5:18 (originally on the studio album Hard Promises)
  4. Breakdown – 7:41 (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)
  5. American Girl – 4:01 (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)
  6. It Ain’t Nothin’ To Me – 6:14 (Southern Accents)
  7. Insider – 5:26 (Hard Promises)
  8. Rockin’ Around (With You) – 3:22
  9. Refugee – 5:21 (Damn the Torpedoes)
  10. Southern Accents – 5:14 (Southern Accents)
  11. Rebels – 6:08 (Southern Accents)
  12. Don’t Bring Me Down – 3:49 (cover of the Goffin and King song originally recorded by The Animals)
  13. Shout – 9:34 (cover of The Isley Brothers song)
  14. The Stories We Could Tell – 3:45 (cover of a song by John Sebastian)

These recordings come from the following sources:

  • Tracks 1, 3-6, 9-11 recorded at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on August 7, 1985.
  • Tracks 2 & 7  were recorded live at The Forum in Los Angeles in June 1981 with a guest appearance from Stevie Nicks.
  • Track 8 was recorded at The Irvine Meadows Amphitheater  in Irvine, California in June 1983.
  • Track 12 Live At The Paradise Theater in Boston on July 16,1978.
  • Track 13 Live At The Richfield Coliseum in Ohio on March 19, 1983.
  • Track 14 Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, London on March 7 1980

I’ve recently changed my opinion of this album. When I first had it, I was disappointed and then I ignored it for years.

I’ve now gone back to it and I can see why others like it so much. I think part of my problem lies in the set list. For a concert album, it is too short at 71 minutes. By this stage, Tom Petty had written plenty of great songs and I wanted to hear them. Worse yet, of the 16 songs that appeared on the LP and cassette, two of them were dropped for the CD leaving this list above.

Then we have the problem that there are five cover versions on here. I want to hear Tom Petty originals performed live and while I like the odd cover version, 5 out of 14 is too many.

On the positive side, the performances are excellent and I get my much-loved saxophone, trumpet and trombone on the 1985 The Wiltern concert performances because the Soul Lips Horns appear, giving the songs additional depth.

The album therefore loses marks for the set list thanks to its shortness and proportion of covers to originals taking it down to 8/10. The performance rating is probably at the 10/10 level since it’s full of energy and we get those horns and Stevie Nicks.

The atmosphere and authenticity rating is an issue. There’s little interaction with the crowd although they are enthusiastic and pulling performances from so many concerts across a seven year period is an issue, knocking the album down to 7/10.

That gives this a 25/30 overall rating which is a recommendation to hear/buy but there’s a BUT.

This album is crying out for an extended reissue. In particular I’d love to hear the full Wiltern performance.

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Tom Petty Pack Up the Plantation Live

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