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Tom Petty, dead at 66, last played Austin in May at the Erwin Center

Peter Blackstock
pblackstock@statesman.com

Tom Petty’s last show in Austin was exactly five months ago, at the Erwin Center on May 2. The legendary rocker died Monday after suffering cardiac arrest in his Malibu home on Sunday night and being found unconscious. He was 66.

At the Erwin Center, we observed in our review, “Petty and his longtime band the Heartbreakers held what at times felt like a mass-worship rock ’n’ roll service to a full arena of fans who’ve clearly loved his music for decades,” we observed in our review of the show.

READ MORE: Tom Petty goes 40 years deep at Erwin Center

“Throughout, Petty was a gracious and appreciative host, thanking the crowd repeatedly and profusely during song breaks from start to finish, as the house lights frequently shined on the sea of smiling faces so he could see them all.”

Austin guitarist Gary Clark Jr. opened the show for Petty, a one-off appearance on the 40th-anniversary tour of Petty and his longtime band, the Heartbreakers.

PHOTOS: Tom Petty at the Erwin Center on May 2, 2017

Petty’s concert history in Austin dates back to 1978, when he appeared with the Heartbreakers at the now-shuttered Austin Opera House. A total of 10 appearances at the Erwin Center followed, along with shows at Bass Concert Hall, the Paramount Theatre and the 2006 Austin City Limits Music Festival.

The ACL Fest show was remembered largely for a rainstorm that erupted midway through the band’s headlining set. Petty and the Heartbreakers waited it out, then retook the stage and played on for the large throng of fans who’d stuck around through the rain.