This is hands down the nicest release I have not just in my collection, but I have ever seen. If you follow my blog you undoubtedly know my affection for Tom Petty’s music, whether with The Heartbreakers or not, and this box set is the ultimate live collection. This box set was released in a few different versions on the CD and vinyl formats, the vinyl version does not come with any of the extra frills the deluxe CD version comes with. I believe the deluxe CD version comes with posters, re-created back stage passes, a few extra live DVD’s, an exclusive documentary and Blu-ray audio discs. The vinyl version is spread across seven LP’s and features the same track list as any of the CD versions, 48 tracks and just under four hours of music.
What makes this the ultimate live collection is the live tracks were taken from various shows throughout Tom Petty And The Heartbreaker’s career, ranging from the late 70’s up to 2007. It is not taken from just one concert or era, Tom Petty and Mike Campbell wanted the best of the best live versions of the songs selected for this live album, which took them over a year to gather. Tom Petty meticulously documented each and every live performance starting in the late 70’s, which led to over 3500 performances of 400 unique songs through 170 concerts.
Included in the vinyl version is seven 180 gram LP’s and a 26-page book with the most thorough and detailed liner notes I have ever seen. Tom Petty offers his personal thoughts on each song included on the album and reflects on his experiences throughout his career. There is a brief history of the band throughout their career. It’s a great read and I actually have it kept outside of this box set so I can easily go back and read it whenever I have the urge to. Now on to the packaging, which is very well put together.
The vinyl version of the album is kept in a book type packaging with a spine. For those worried about size, while this set is larger both vertically and horizontally (much more so horizontally) than a standard LP jacket, I have no problem fitting this set on my shelves that store the rest of my LP’s. All of the records are in their own poly lined dust sleeves which are then housed in a sleeve that is attached to the box set as are the pages in a book. Everything is attached to the spine of the box set, there is even a spot for the book is like a record sleeve on inside of the back cover. Being as everything is attached to the spine, getting the records in and out can be a bit of a problem, as sometimes they are frustratingly tough to get back in. The track listing for each record in the set is printed on one side of the sleeves that are attached to the spine of the box set, and the artwork for each of these sleeves is the same.
As for pressing info I have not seen anything official. The only numbers I have seen are from an online distro/store, which lists this set as being limited to 2500 copies. While I do think this set is limited because of the complex nature of it, given the packaging, I find a small number like 2500 copies being way too little for a band like Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers. These are still widely available and very easy to find. The steep price tag, $150, may be to blame for that, but diehard Petty fans and vinyl nerds would be quick to snatch all of these up despite that is there are actually only 2500 copies of this set made.