“Where Were You?” Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, at Louisville Memorial Auditorium – Louisville, Kentucky [September 20, 1978]


From the stadium/arena shows of my previous post of The Who photos, I now take you back to a smaller venue – my favorite place to see performances of bands on the rise, or established musicians, in those days [locally]: Louisville’s Memorial Auditorium.

Acoustically sound, as it was adapted for the local symphony orchestra to perform in, and its reasonable capacity  http://www.louisvillememorialauditorium.com/index.aspx  meant great experiences were to be had.  In my case, I attended concerts there, by such diverse performers as Shawn Phillips, Weather Report [photos at a later date], The Pretenders [photos soon], Elvis Costello & The Attractions, and It’s a Beautiful Day, amongst others.

At the time of this appearance, in 1978, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were just starting to trouble the charts, and lucky locals were especially fortunate in only having to pay $ 1.02 to gain admission to the show.  This was to be one of the handful of concerts co-sponsored by the local FM radio station, WLRS “The Walrus” [102.5 on the FM dial], in their attempt to promote some of the more recognizable names of “New Wave” artists that were making their way across the land at the time – using that very low admission price as an enticement to fill the seats.

In those early days, it wasn’t too difficult to get my camera into this venue, and with my telephoto zoom lens it was fine to be seated in the first 10 rows of the theatre. These technical matters I had worked out during the previous year, since first purchasing my camera gear. I knew, by now, that I could still get decent photos – in addition to seeing and hearing the show in the near-perfect visual and audio conditions at this venue – more often than not.

This show was successful in drawing the crowd, and as a result, I could not move around much to alter my angles for the photos, as you will see from the results.  As I remember it, the set wasn’t as long as the standard performing time expected at the time [most headliners played roughly 90 minutes, on average], but then, for the amount we paid to get in, who could complain?  A lot of the second album, and a good dose of songs from their first album were on offer that night.  Glad I saw the band, when I did, before they reached the stadiums, and larger arenas.

These photographs were taken on print film, and are merely “proofs” of those images I captured on this evening

Mike Campbell and an Ibanez “V” guitar – one of many guitars the band would employ

Ron Blair on bass and harmonizing with Tom Petty

Notice the unusual shape of the Gibson in this frame

The only still I managed to get of Mr. Tench on this evening

Mike Campbell solos

Tom Petty stresses a point

Mike Campbell playing a glass slide part


Mike Campbell solos with Benmont Tench in the shadows

I was fortunate to get this one good frame of Stan Lynch, as photographing drummers always provide special obstacles to navigate, in order to avoid the equipment blocking them out most of the time

Another view of Ron Blair harmonizing with Tom Petty

And remember folks – No flash was used in any of these images!

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Official website, for the latest news:



While many of you who arrive here, to look at these photographs may get turned off to my use of watermarks [thinking they ruin the image], let me explain why I choose to do this.

No one paid for my camera equipment but me. No one paid for the film I used to take these photographs.  On occasion, when I free-lanced for a free monthly newsletter, and they published a photo of mine, the payment for each photograph barely paid for the fuel to get my vehicle to the show [when I *did* have a vehicle], and the film I used on that night. 

Not too many of my photos were published, at the time, because the artists I chose to capture images of, were not hugely popular then.  Hence, the old dictum, “Supply and Demand”; I had the supply, but the demand [pre-Internet], was not there. You can argue the relative merits of the quality of my work, and that is precisely what a blog offers:  a venue for discussion.

Back to the watermarks: no one is subsidizing my time to scan and then clean up the images I am presenting here. Start to finish, each negative will take approximately an hour-and-a-half to reach “proof” quality – which is what you will see here.  This is my labor of love, and until there is some measurable return on my efforts, what you see is what you get.


2 responses to ““Where Were You?” Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, at Louisville Memorial Auditorium – Louisville, Kentucky [September 20, 1978]

  1. Pingback: The Pretenders, at Louisville Memorial Auditorium, Louisville Kentucky [September 4, 1980] “The Preface” | michaelconen "where were you?"·

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