Throwback Concert: Tom Petty Charlotte, N.C., April 14th 1995
Everyone one has that coming of age sorta story to tell and I would have to say this is mine. Charlotte, N.C., Verizon Wireless Amphitheater on April 14, 1995 was the date that Tom Petty would be playing live and in living color. Meanwhile back in Spartanburg four friends had the perfect day to skip out on school to see Tom Petty in concert. See, it was good Friday and we all had our parents to write a excuse saying It’s a religious holiday.
It was myself who was in the 11th grade along with Chris Pittman, Lance Dupre (who were in 12th) and Johnny Humble (who was in 12th but different school. I was pretty close to Lance and Chris for we would have the best times video recording silly things in my home town of Pacolet and beyond. Chris and I even had high hopes of putting it on cable access. I knew John but not as well as other two for we all were misfits and really didn’t fit into any group. One thing is we always had fun weather watching hours of Bevis and Butthead or prank calling folks. Chris had just got his drivers license and had access to a car. Now, this was big to all of us and to celebrate the occasion we had to take a road trip.
In 1995 Tom Petty released Wildflowers and the radio was blowing it up but would censor “Lets get to the point and roll another joint” . I guess 1995 wasn’t ready for it. We all had the tape (yes cassette tape 95 now) and all worn out and knew all the words to every song. We devise the plan where we all pitch in the gas skip school with help from parents. It was a religious holiday after all! Lance and I lived in Pacolet and Chris lived in Cowpens (about five miles away). We all met up at Hardees for breakfast and to wait on John to join us. We all ate and begun the journey and if this was a movie be a good time for some coming of age type music to be placed here. Four guys about done with school heading to first concert alone minus any adults. We arrived to park amongst thousands of cars and curious about how good our tickets would be. We got in the gates and the energy was becoming real now. We walked up to where the seating was and gave the guy our tickets as he escorted us to where we would be sitting for the evening. We were about 30 yards from the stage. I still recall the smiles on all our faces as we sat down and you couldn’t pry em off with a crowbar. The Jayhawks opened the show and I was quite familiar with them thanks to Matt Pienfield from 120 minutes show on MTV. They played the big hit with the song “Blue” and I breathed in that Good Friday air.
Tom Petty took the stage and we was so close we could see the star on his converse all stars. He was laid back and played many of his greatest hits such as Even the losers, Refugee, Don’t come around here no more, Mary Janes Last Dance, and most of Wildflowers. We all sat and soaked it all in for we all were now men in an adult world. The night ended as we got back on highway 85 back to South Carolina with the knowing of moral victories in our heads.
I just realized that was 19 years ago yesterday and still wondering where did time go as I looked in the mirror to see grey hairs and a mature mind. I looked all around the internet for anything such as pictures, ticket stubs, or even videos of that very day April 14, 1995. I came up with nothing but I am sure stuff is out there. It makes me realize how important pictures, writings, and videos are. They stamp a moment in time and you always have that. Its something important and special.
Nowadays, I have been married and now happily divorced with custody of two kids and and advocate for music. Chris also become a father and has a good job, Lance also has a great job, wife and moved out of town., Johnny joined the military, got married and then killed his wife and unborn child and is now on death row in Texas. Funny how things work out and how people change, come and go. I say that to you for hopes you live in the moment more. Cherish the small things and enjoy every sandwich. (fade to black)