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Reviewed July 18th, 2001 by Dan Jones


Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers are undoubtedly one of the greatest rock bands of all time. His music is known by all and bridges the generation gap between the 70s and now. Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers are also widely known for creating exceptional music videos; in fact, in 1994 MTV award them with a special Video Vanguard Award.

In 1995, to go along with the massive 6-CD “Playback” box set, MCA released a VHS collection of all of TP&TH's music videos spanning from 1979's “Here Comes My Girl” to 1993's “Mary Jane's Last Dance.” The name of this VHS music video collection, originally enough, was also Playback.

Approximately six years have passed since this original VHS release and MCA has decided that this video collection should be available on the DVD format. Being a huge Tom Petty fan and a DVD addict I was all over this release. Let's take a look at how this DVD video collection faired...

First off, this is an MCA release and therefore material done after 1993 will not be on it; namely videos off Wildflowers, She's the One (Soundtrack) and Echo are absent. This is no real big issue though as the DVD still clocks in at about 74 minutes with seventeen music videos.

Upon load of Playback you'll notice your standard FBI warning, which then proceeds to an all white page with the words Playback, the logo from the box, and two options: Play Full or Song Selection. I'm sorry, but I could have made a better menu then this. But who really cares, it's just a menu right? Let's take a look at the more important elements...

You'll notice on the case itself that the DVD boasts Dolby Digital. After about five seconds you'll realize that even though your receiver will state Dolby Digital playback, you'll only hear the videos in stereo. This was quite a disappointing discovery. The lack of a 5.1 mix gives me the feeling that MCA wasn't looking to put any further effort into the creation of this DVD, rather just a simple transfer from the VHS to the DVD format. But, overall the stereo audio sounds pretty good, but definitely doesn't test any limits of a nice 5.1 home theater.

The video quality of Playback is quite strong. Some of the older videos obviously wont look as sharp as say Mary Jane's Last Dance, but they are still the best I've ever seen them. All the videos are in full frame pan and scan.

Extras are no where to be found. Some commentary or interviews with Tom petty would have been nice.

Overall, the DVD is a great addition to any fan of Tom Petty's music and videos. It does have many glaring submissions though, which like I said earlier, leads me to believe that MCA just wanted to get some more profit out of the original Playback without putting much effort into actually enhancing the DVD any.

Would I buy this DVD again? Oh yes, I'm a Tom Petty junky. I do recommend it; I just wish MCA put a little more effort into it.

Track Listing:
1. Here Comes My Girl
2. Refugee
3. The Waiting
4. A Woman In Love (It's Not Me)
5. Insider
6. You Got Lucky
7. Change of Heart
8. Don't Come Around Here No More
9. Jammin' Me
10. I Won't Back Down
11. Runnin' Down a Dream
12. Free Fallin'
13. A Face In the Crowd
14. Yer So Bad
15. Learning to Fly
16. Into the Great Wide Open
17. Mary Jane's Last Dance


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