It’s easy to be at a loss for words with all of today’s news.  From Las Vegas to Tom Petty, today seemed to bring nothing but shock.  And the loss of Tom Petty is one that hit hard.

I got a chance to see Tom Petty for the first time, at SPAC years and years ago, as a 17 year old.  While Tom Petty wasn’t the newest music on the radio by any means, he was still the music my friends and I loved.  Instead of dancing along to pop hits and hip hop, my friends and I danced to ‘Free Fallin’ and ‘American Girl.’  The music that he made was timeless.  It was my coming-of-age soundtrack, and I’m sure the same for a decade or two before me.   Tom Petty was eternal.  He was rock and roll.  He was a feeling of innocence and rebellion wrapped in to one.  He was unique, eccentric, and mainstream all at once.  He was and is a legend.

When I got to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform again live at the Mountain Jam festival again this summer, it was as if I was 17 all over again.  That memory of innocence flashed back, that light-hearted feeling of freedom in a world of rock and roll.  I was a ‘kid in a candy shop.’  I felt like the same teenager jumping up and down screaming along to ‘American Girl’ almost falling off the balcony at SPAC without a care in the world.  With hit after hit being played from the stage,  I felt the sweet relief of music in unison with the crowd, where the stress of reality stopped and the power of music existed.

A true legend, here’s to all of the amazing music, memories, and experiences Tom Petty gave us.