A Horde of Local Rockers Pay Tribute to Tom Petty in “Won’t Back Down” at Akron’s EJ. Thomas Hall

Photo by Anastasia Pantsios

Sat 11/4 @ 8PM

One major rock and roll death most people didn’t see coming was that of Tom Petty October 2 at the age of 66. He seemed as sturdy and indomitable as his mainstream blue-collar rock, which felt both deeply personal and universal.

Inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame in 2002, Petty — usually backed by his longtime band, the Heartbreakers — released 16 studio albums since his 1976 debut, 13 of which were gold or platinum sellers. He also had 15 top 40 hits, with the biggest, 1989’s “Freefallin’” coming years after the band’s first flush of success. And the band’s final tour, its 40th anniversary tour, ended just a week before he died of a heart attack. He truly died “with his boots on.”

Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall will be the site of a gala tribute to Petty called “Won’t Back Down: Celebrating the Life of Tom Petty,” featuring a huge cast of prominent local musicians including nearly 20 guest singers. Brent Kirby, Angie Haze, Gretchen Pluess, Becky Boyd, Ray Flanagan, Hey Monea!’s Dan Monea, Shana Delaney of By Light We Loom, Marc Lee Shannon from Michael Stanley’s band, Tracey Thomas, Zach Friedhof and Brian Lisik are among the better known names on the list each of whom will perform one tune with the house band featuring John Anthony and Erin Vaughn on guitars, Paul Lewis on bass, Ed Davis on drums, Russ Flanagan on keys and Emily Bates on harmony vocals.

Tireless music community catalyst Ryan Humbert, who produced the show, will host as well as join the house band on guitars and harmony vocals.

Tickets are $15 and $20.

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