An Eight-Week Course in Tom Petty History: The Start of the Superhighway Tour — A Review

Was I in Cleveland the past hour? (No.) Oh, okay. But it sure felt like I just came back from a trip in rock-n-roll history. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers history, that is.

What’s the deal with the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ Superhighway Tour and Live Anthology? Here’s my experience from Day One , a mini-review of the content:

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Live Anthology -

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Live Anthology -

This morning at about 10:01 I purchased my ticket to the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Superhighway Tour. I wasn’t sure how it worked with the downloads and digital playing of tracks, so I waited until I got home from work to log in for the first time.

Wow. I am completely impressed. This is an incredibly creative way to promote the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Live Anthology. I am almost jealous that I didn’t think of it. I mean, not that I work in the record industry, but man, takes me back to my radio days. This is just an incredible idea. Kudos to Warner Brothers or whoever in Tom Petty’s camp came up with this creative concept.

I seriously look forward to the next eight weeks, where unique content and unheard tracks are delivered to me two tracks per week. Look forward? Wait. What kinda expression of excitement is that? I mean, I AM FREAKIN’ STOKED.

So, the deal is: You can buy the ticket to access the online content. A total of 24 advance tracks are made available, two per week over the next eight weeks leading up to the November 24, 2009 release of The Live Anthology Deluxe Box Set. On the 28th, the final 24 tracks are also made available, totaling 48 tracks.

I’m not stopping at the digital and I hope no Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers fan does. I describe what you get on the tour below, but real quick…

On the 24th the tangible stuff – do you remember what tangible music is?- is available. The Live Anthology Deluxe Box Set includes an incredible amount of music (Superhighway Tour ticker holders get a hefty discount!). According to –and directly pasted from — as of 09/29/09 (in case it changes on us for some reason):

  • The definitive live collection. 62 tracks on 5 CDs recorded live in concert from 1978 – 2007.
  • Blu-ray AUDIO disc of all 62 tracks in both stereo and surround sound. High-resolution 96K 24-bit audio with 256 times more resolution than a CD.
  • One DVD of “400 Days”, a previously unreleased documentary film by director Martyn Atkins, made during the 1995 Wildflowers tour and recording sessions.
  • One DVD of previously unreleased New Years Eve 1978 Santa Monica, CA concert.
  • 12” vinyl of a re-mastered 1976 Official Live Bootleg album.
  • Deluxe book with liner notes offering personal perspectives on the band and their music by Tom Petty, Warren Zanes, Bill Flanagan, Robert Hilburn, Joel Selvin, Austin Scaggs, and Phil Sutcliffe.
  • Reproduction “Litho” of Shepard Fairey Cover Art (12″ x 12″ on high quality stock)
  • Reproduction of the 1997 twenty night Fillmore stand concert poster (8″ x 12″ on high quality stock)
  • Assorted authentic vintage backstage satin passes.
  • SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS OPTION: There is also a Live Anthology Vinyl Deluxe Box Set which has seven albums and over 51 live tracks from 1980-2007 plus a 12×12, 24-page color book of liner notes.

    Finally, folks can also purchase a four-CD set.


    Just took a screen shot of my welcome page after I logged into the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Superhighway Tour (Image (c) Donna Talarico)

    Just took a screen shot of my welcome page after I logged into the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Superhighway Tour (Image (c) Donna Talarico)

    The “ticket” to the tour was $24.98 and I purchased it through as soon as they were made available. I simply created an account, paid and Viola! Later when I logged in, I downloaded the first two tracks, which are also able to be played from the site. They are playing right now, in fact.

    The site: The layout and design of the Tom Petty Superhighway Tour site is uber-cool. The parchment feel of the site gives it that nostalgic touch- kind of like the tan old paper becomes. The site is laced with bits of red and images of old concert tickets, press clippings, posters, and the Damn the Torpedoes cover in the background- wonderful design.

    Navigation of is easy,  very user-friendly. The sections are clear: new tracks, news on the album, photos, merchandise, etc. All very pleasing to the eye. The enlarged images allow users to scan through each image within the enlarged view, rather than open and close, and open and close.

    Hard Promises from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

    Hard Promises from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

    The goodies: After logging in, the welcome screen greeted with the new tracks of the week. Basically, the Superhighway Tour follows a calendar spanning the past 30 years. Each week the tracks are from live performances from a concert. This week, one of the tracks is “Nightwatchman” from a show at The Forum in Los Angeles on June 28, 1981. “Nightwatchman” was from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ album Hard Promises.

    More goodies: When you click on the page for an individual track, you are also given awesome material — and this is the kind of stuff I live for since I love media, memorabilia, and memories- that pertain to that particular show. You are given an overview of the concert (for example the Forum show is actually part of a three-night run), a set-list from that night, reviews, band commentary on the song and the concert, and more.

    I don’t want to give away all the surprises (although I am sure other bloggers will) because I want you to buy this digital treasure chest and see for yourself! But, there are articles, concert reviews, photos, and more. Oh, yeah. I didn’t even mention that each week there is new merchandise. This week it’s a vintage t-shirt from 1981. I can quickly see my bank account draining.

    User-generated content: I work in eCommerce so I know how important it is becoming to let customers, and in this case also fans, take ownership and play a role in the experience. Virtually every bit of media/information available on the Tom Petty Superhighway Tour allows for user comments. There is also the ability to upload fan photos. There is a forum as well.

    This isn’t even a tour.

    It’s an eight-week course in Tom Petty history.

    (I just coined that during an edit and had to change the headline.) I look forward to paying attention to Tom Petty History every week and indulging in the music and enjoying the nostalgia of a band that had an incredible 31+ years so far — who knows what is ahead. Watching the Runnin’ Down a Dream documentary last week was awesome, coincidental prep for this adventure.

    This is the ULTIMATE collection for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers fans. It’s the band, throughout the decades with tons and tons of extras- as Tom Petty said in his welcome message, “We’re gonna be sending you mountains of stuff over the Super Internet Global Highway.”

    Buy the ticket today. Enjoy what I am enjoying. I am sure I will write more about this down the line, but wanted to get the word out about this today since it’s brand new!


    About Donna Talarico

    Higher ed web marketing. Creative writer. Love word games. View all posts by Donna Talarico

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