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Reviewed July 22nd, 2001 by Dan Jones


You'll be hard-pressed to find a rock group that knows how to play pure rock n' roll as well as Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers do. I've never been able to walk away from one of their concerts without being a little light headed and exhausted from the “atmosphere.” I've never been able to wake up the next day and not be completely hoarse. So, now there is a live Petty concert on DVD? Yea, I'm there.

High Grass Dogs, cleverly named by Mr. Petty, was shot at The Fillmore in San Francisco, California over March 15th and 16th, 1999. The Fillmore is probably the de-facto location for a Tom Petty concert, considering that he and his Heartbreakers did an unprecedented 20 straight shows there in 1997. If you're big into Petty you might see this DVD as containing one of his more “soft” concerts, lacking some of the big name Petty tracks such as “Don't Come Around Here No More”, “American Girl”, “Good to Be King”, etc... But, there are some great additions, the fast paced guitar rock songs like “Runnin' Down a Dream” and “Country Farm” just scream, and vocals on songs like “Even the Losers” (with some humorous mistakes), “Walls”, and “Angel Dream” sound just beautiful. Oh, and Bo Diddley shows up to duet on “Mona.”

Being that this DVD is, in fact, a rock concert, it better have great sound. High Grass Dogs does not let us down. The DVD comes equipped with a very solid 5.1 Dolby Digital mix that puts you in the center of the crowd. You can hear a little bit of background audience noise on your rears and the music comes, of course, from in front of you. The DVD sounds fantastic and does a great job of setting the concert environment, as well it should.

High Grass Dogs also has nice video quality. The picture is done in 1.33:1 widescreen (letterbox) format. For the most part the picture quality is nice; there are some graininess issues in some of the cutaways to the production crew backstage (between some of the tracks), but for the most part the video is clean and sharp. Overall the lighting is dark, giving the video that concert atmosphere, but robust colors still shine through.

Extras? Unfortunately, no. Some behind the scenes footage would have been nice, but alas, no pickle is included with this meal.

Overall, High Grass Dogs is a great concert DVD. The DVD does exactly what it needs to do: make it look great and sound greater. Definitely recommended to any fan of classic rock n' roll music; and if you're a Tom Petty fan, you really need to add this to your collection.

Track Listing:
1. Intro/California
2. Jammin' Me
3. Runnin' Down A Dream
4. Swingin'
5. Breakdown
6. Listen To Her Heart
7. You Don't Know How It Feels
8. Mary Jane's Last Dance
9. Mona
10. Lay Down My Old Guitar
11. Even The Losers
12. Walls
13. Angel Dream
14. Room At The Top
15. County Farm
16. You Wreck Me
17. I Don't Wanna Fight
18. Free Fallin'
19. Free Girl Now


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