Tom Petty at the Vic 2003

"Maybe we'll just move here."

April 24, 2019

Some history...

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' association with 93XRT took off when we sponsored a double bill at the Riviera Theater in 1977 with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with special guest Elvis Costello and the Attractions. The price for this coveted ticket? 3 bucks. As in dollars. Can you even buy a bottle of water for 3 bucks now at a concert?

In 2003, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers decided to do a residency at The Vic Theater, a series of 5 93XRT concerts at a location far more intimate than one would associate with a band of that stature. Maybe you remember the marquee:

                                                                              BREW & VIEW at the Vic

                                                            TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS

We struck a deal with the band. They would allow us to broadcast one song every night from the show and then on the very last night, Saturday, April 19th, 93XRT would present the entire concert on our airwaves.

WXRT radio legends Frank E. Lee and Tom Marker were our radio hosts for the evening. Frank described it as "One of the most exciting and nervewracking weeks I ever spent on the radio! A WXRT dream come true."

Frank and Tom set the stage on the radio and the band tore into Muddy Waters' "Baby, Please Don't Go." The Heartbreakers reveled in their rock and roll roots with covers of classics from Willie Dixon, Elmore James, Buddy Holly, Ray Charles, and, of course, Chuck Berry (as part of the encore). The crowd singalong to "Learning to Fly" was one for the ages and is, in fact, preserved on one of the XRT charity CD's, On XRT Live from the Archives Volume 6.

Caught up in the exuberance of this final night Tom Petty said, "Maybe we'll just move here."

Frank E. Lee remembers some interesting details. Stage manager of the gods, Jolly Roger, was on the job. And as Frank looked up in the XRT box, he saw his wife next to Tom Petty's wife and Willie Dixon's granddaughter, dancing to "I Just Wanna Make Love to You."

Almost the entire concert survives on youtube.

From a budget show in 1977 to this unforgettable show at the Vic to a farewell concert at Wrigley Field, the memories of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in Chicago run as deep as the lake on our shores.

We are featuring the music of Tom Petty all day this Friday starting with the XRT Morning Show.