40 things to know before seeing Tom Petty in Des Moines
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are set to return to Wells Fargo Arena on June 5.
American rock ‘n’ roll icon Tom Petty and his band the Heartbreakers are bringing the highly anticipated 40th anniversary tour to Iowa’s capital city on June 5.
Marking his first Des Moines show in 12 years, Petty and Co. take over Iowa’s biggest indoor stage for a one-night-only performance in the midst of a five-month North American tour.
Make like a refugee and free fall into the show by catching up on these must-know 40 facts before heading to downtown for the week’s big rock event.
1. Let's start with the basics: The show is set for June 5 at Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Des Moines.
2. The gig kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
3. Tickets are running $39.50 to $129.50 before fees at iowaeventscenter.com and were still available at time of online publication.
4. The 40th anniversary tour kicked off April 20 in Oklahoma City and dates are booked through August.
5. In late 2016, an interview with Rolling Stone ran that had Petty teasing it may be the last large-scale American tour from the Florida-born songwriter.
6. “I'd be lying if I didn't say I was thinking this might be the last big one. We're all on the backside of our sixties. I have a granddaughter now I'd like to see as much as I can. I don't want to spend my life on the road.” the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer said in the interview.
8. Petty mixes in solo classics with Heartbreaker favorites, sticking to the hits.
10. The hits being songs such as “Wildflowers,” “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and “American Girl" and "Refugee."
11. Plot twist: Billed as a 40th anniversary tour, the first Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album, “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers,” dropped in 1976 … 41 years ago. It wasn’t until 1977, however, that Petty and his band broke into American mainstream, behind the hit “Breakdown.”
12. After “Breakdown,” Pretty and Co. released “American Girl,” one of the group’s most recognized tracks, as a single.
13. In 2008, Rolling Stone named the track one of the 100 greatest guitar songs off all-time.
14. Landing at No. 76 on the list, it came in ahead of Pearl Jam’s “Even Flow” and after Frank Zappa’s “Willie The Pump.”
15. In similar accolades from the pop culture publication, Petty came in at No. 59 on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time” list.
16. Surprising very few, Bob Dylan topped the list.
17. Petty landed between Willie Nelson and George Clinton on the list, both of which are scheduled to appear in Iowa this summer.
18. Petty has released 13 albums with the Heartbreakers.
19. And three albums as a solo artist.
20. With the Heartbreakers, he’s scored 10 tracks in the top 40 of the Billboard 100 singles chart.
21. But, still, it wasn’t until 2014 that he landed his first No. 1 charting album.
22. It wasn’t the breakthrough self-titled album, “Refugee”-led “Damn the Torpedoes” or classic “Southern Accents.”
23. It was the Heartbreaker’s latest effort, “Hypnotic Eye” that finally landed the group on top of the Billboard album chart.
24. The record moved a reported 131,000 copies in its first week.
25. American guitar man Joe Walsh is set to also appear at the gig.
26. Walsh, known for his work in the Eagles, James Gang and as a member of Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band, last appeared in Des Moines when the Eagles played Wells Fargo Arena in 2014.
27. Refresh your memory by spinning Walsh favorites “Life’s Been Good,” “Rocky Mountain Way” and “In The City,” all of which have made it into his set this tour.
28. Walsh was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Eagles in 1998.
29. The last Walsh studio album, “Analog Man,” dropped in 2012.
30. It was his first studio solo album since the 1992 effort “Songs of a Dying Planet.”
31. While Petty’s a native Floridian, he and his band share an interesting moment in Iowa concert history. His band was the first to play Wells Fargo Arena when the downtown Des Moines room opened in 2005.
32. The show took place July 18, 2005.
33. Roughly 8,500 attended, according to Register archives.
34. Petty mixed his ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s hits at the show, with one cover: The Animals’ number “I’m Cryin.’”
35. The Black Crowes, known for the song “Hard To Handle,” opened the show.
36. For the audiophiles: When announcing the tour, Petty announced a double box set vinyl reissue of the entire Heartbreakers studio discography to commemorate 40 years as a band. Split into Vol. 1 and 2 (about $200 a piece on Amazon), the former covers years ‘76-’91 and the latter covers ‘94-’14.
37. Parking is available in the lots directly north of Wells Fargo Arena for $8 a vehicle.
38. Additional parking can be found for various fees in garages across downtown. Street parking is free after 6 p.m. A parking guide can be found at downtowndesmoines.com.
39. Pre-show tailgates typically take place at Buzzard Billy’s (615 3rd St., a block south of the arena). Visit Facebook.com/BuzzardBillys for additional information.
40. Wells Fargo Arena can be found at 233 Center St.
More information on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in Des Moines can be found at iowaeventscenter.com.