Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers headlined the inaugural Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in 2008. On Saturday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame act returned to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, becoming the first repeat headliner in the festival's seven-year history.
That, of course, begs one important question:
What took so long?
It was great to see Petty and crew back at Outside Lands, thrilling fans with selections from one of rock's best catalogs. Their approximately two-hour set was filled with such classic cuts as "Mary Jane's Last Dance," "Free Fallin'" and, best of all, "Runnin' Down a Dream," which served as a fine showcase for the band's brilliant guitar hero, Mike Campbell.
The group also performed a few marginally entertaining cuts from its newly released 13th studio album, "Hypnotic Eye." Yet, the song that had many folks buzzing was the Heartbreakers' cover of the Grateful Dead's "Friend of the Devil," which was reportedly dedicated to the late, great Jerry Garcia. (Saturday marked the 19th anniversary of the Bay Area rock icon's death.)
Petty's performance was one of the highlights of Day Two of the festival, which continues through Sunday. Other memorable sets came courtesy of rocking sister act Haim and chart-topping hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, among others.
Macklemore and Lewis performed at the same time as Petty, basically splitting the massive festival crowd in half. I tore myself away from the Heartbreakers' set -- very reluctantly, given how highly I value the chance to see Campbell play guitar -- and caught a few songs of Macklemore and Lewis' set. That turned out to be a smart move -- the Grammy-winning duo sounded great as it bounced through "Thrift Shop" and other tunes from the smash debut "The Heist."
The best performance of the day, however, came courtesy of Haim. This increasingly popular pop-rock trio, which sold out two nights at the Fillmore in San Francisco in April, was absolutely dynamite onstage, roaring through tunes from the 2013 debut "Days Are Gone." The three sisters -- Alana, Danielle and Este Haim -- exhibited far more musical muscle in the live arena than they have in the studio to date. Danielle Haim, in particular, was a marvel to behold, delivering some of the most passionate, mesmerizing guitar work of the festival.
Outside Lands concludes on Sunday, but not before such talented acts as The Killers, The Flaming Lips, Spoon, Jenny Lewis and Chvrches have their say. For more information, visit www.sfoutsidelands.com.