Release Date: Nov 23, 2009
Record label: Reprise
Genre(s): Rock, Live
The performances on this career-spanning four-disc compilation define the term ”ageless”: Listening to these concert recordings, which date from four decades, you may have trouble figuring out which are old and which are new without consulting the liner notes. That’s how tight Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ onstage rapport has remained over the years (despite several lineup shuffles). With all the hits plus an enjoyable assortment of rarities and covers, The Live Anthology is a comprehensive portrait of a perpetually professional live act.
It's a commonly held opinion among fans and band alike that Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' lone live album, 1986's Pack Up the Plantation, didn't quite capture the group at its peak, so there has been a long-standing need for another live set, which 2009's Live Anthology finally provides. Like its closest cousin, Bruce Springsteen's Live 1975-1985, Live Anthology almost overcompensates for the long wait by offering almost too much music, cherrypicking highlights from 1978 to 2007. In its simplest incarnation, Live Anthology is a super-affordable, four-disc box set running 48 tracks, which is eight cuts longer than Springsteen's box, plenty long enough for most fans, but in its deluxe version, there's an additional CD, plus two previously unreleased DVDs -- a 1978 New Years Eve concert from Santa Monica, a documentary called 400 Days shot during the Wildflowers tour -- a Blu-Ray edition of all 62 tracks on the five-CD version, a vinyl copy of the 1976 Official Live 'Leg LP, plus a book and lithograph, along with other assorted bonuses.
The Live Anthology, a career-spanning Tom Petty collection (1978–2007), comes in enough formats to please fans of every stripe. The basic 4-CD, 48-track minibox and the 51-song, 7-LP vinyl set will please most, but if you need the full Heartbreaker experience, go for the deluxe box with an extra CD (upping the track total to 62), two DVDs of unreleased material, a vinyl pressing of the Official Live 'Leg bootleg from 1976, and a Blu-ray disc that contains all the material on the CDs in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound, plus posters, a large format book, and other memorabilia. Fanatics can visit the Anthology website, where there's even more content.