Petty’s spirit to be Free Fallin’ into Tupelo on October 2

Strange as Angels will perform at The Blue Canoe October 2. Members, standing from left, include Darrell Marecle, Stephen Smith, Melissa Brown, Rodney Reeves, Jeff Spencer, Tom Sewell and (seated) Graham Howard.

On Wednesday, Oct. 2, the spirit and music of Tom Petty will be alive and well, as area bands pay tribute to the fallen rock icon.

Six bands — Strange As Angels, Big Tony and the Gentrys, Zooligans, The Young Guns, Misbehavin’, and The Spunk Monkees will perform at the Blue Canoe playing nearly 40 songs made famous by Petty.

“I’m a real big Tom Petty fan. His last tour, his 40th Anniversary Tour, I got to see him three times,” said Jeff Spencer, who started the event in 2018 and is a member of Strange As Angels. “He added a couple of shows at the Hollywood Bowl, in Hollywood, and I said, ‘I’m going to go.’ “My wife and I went for our anniversary to the final show Tom Petty ever did — Sept. 25, 2017 and a week later he died.”

Petty was found unconscious at his home, not breathing and in cardiac arrest, early in the morning of Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. He was resuscitated and taken to the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California, where he died at 8:40 pm PDT after premature reports of his death throughout the day.

In a statement on his official website, Petty's wife and daughter said he had multiple medical problems, including emphysema, knee difficulties “and most significantly a fractured hip.” He was prescribed pain medication for these problems and informed on the day of his death that his hip had graduated to a full break. The statement read, “[it] is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his overuse of medication.[..] We feel confident that this was, as the coroner found, an unfortunate accident.”

“Last year, when it was coming up on the anniversary of his death, I thought we should do a tribute night so we put one together,” Spencer said. “Adam Morgan, at the Blue Canoe, was so gracious. He jumped on the idea and promoted it. We had a great night and place was packed.”

So next week the bands will do it again, this time around they’ll raise money for two unnamed (at this time) charities, one for people in need and the other to help animals.

“There will be a small cover charge with 100-percent of the proceeds going to the charities,” Spencer said. “None of the bands will make any money.”

The show will start at 8:30 p.m. and rage on into the morning. The Blue Canoe is located at 2006 N Gloster St., in Tupelo. Their phone is (662) 269-2642.

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