Summerfest fans hyped for back-to-back nights of Tom Petty

Posted at 6:02 PM, Jul 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-05 19:02:20-04

If waiting is the hardest part, Tom Petty fans don’t have much longer to go. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers take the main stage 9:00 p.m. Wednesday at Summerfest.

The rock and roll legends are the only headliner to get two shows this year at the Big Gig. Both are nearly sold out at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater, which holds 23,000.

The sight of a sign that reads “Today: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers” has been a long time coming for two friends from Menomonee Falls who share the same first name as their favorite musician.

“This is my first time,” said Tom Ullrich.

“I’ve seen Petty here twice, I’ve seen Petty twice elsewhere, but who wouldn’t want to be here?” said Tom Hartman. 

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers won’t back down to Summerfest. Petty has played at the Big Gig 11 times since 1989.

“From what I hear, he loves Milwaukee and he fills it up so why not?” Ullrich said.

The back-to-back night headline concerts fall on the band’s 40th anniversary world tour. 

“I’ve seen him on TV and he sounds great,” Ullrich said.  “I put headphones on and lay back.”

Hartman said he won’t just hear Petty Wednesday night.

“Totally in tune knowing every word coming because most people are long time fans,” he said.

Whether it’s “American Girl” of “Free Fallin’,” when Petty takes the stage, both Hartman and Ullrich will be in their element. 

“I’ll just be on a cloud because I’ve been waiting to see this and I finally bit the dust to say I’m going to Petty,” Ullrich said.

Chris Stapleton opens for the band. Last minute purchases are still available for Petty at the Summerfest box office. Employees said there’s a couple hundred left, starting at $83 in the bleacher section.