10995 – Tom Petty…lip syncing?!?!

Petty, Heartbreakers sound a bit too perfect at Super Bowl
Tom Petty bills himself as an old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roller who takes a stand against all the jive and corny aspects of show biz.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers bring pristine showmanship – a little too pristine, perhaps – to the halftime show at Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz.
But Sunday, he backed down in his Super Bowl halftime show. It seems the rocker was lip-syncing.The 57-year-old singer wouldn’t be the first ñ or the last ñ musician to lip-sync at the Super Bowl. Playing a noisy football stadium on live TV is such an acoustical nightmare that most acts decide to tape their 12-minute set the week before and “sing” into a dead microphone during the show. The only thing live is the between-song “Thank you!”
Janet Jackson was obviously lip-syncing in 2004, and Paul McCartney appeared to be doing the same in 2005. But Prince and the Rolling Stones reversed the trend at the last two Super Bowls, with live sets that were raw but still spectacular.
Mr. Petty and the Heartbreakers lacked that element of danger in their by-the-book rendition of “American Girl,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Free Fallin’ ” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream.”
All the tell-tale signs of lip-syncing were there: The vocals sounded too pristine, Mr. Petty’s lungs didn’t seem to be expanding far enough, and every time he sang, his mouth was strategically hidden behind a big spongy microphone.
Perhaps the real giveaway came during his “ad-libbed” aside in “Free Fallin’ “: He backed away from the mike a split-second before his voice trailed off.
The apparent lip-syncing wasn’t the only brand of cheese on the buffet. Like most half-time shows, this one began with shots of manic fans sprinting toward the stage ‡ la A Hard Day’s Night. During “I Won’t Back Down,” the camera zoomed in on a bunch of teen girls excitedly jumping up and down.
The last time those things happened to Mr. Petty when cameras weren’t on was in 1979.
Still, you can’t fault him for taking the gig. In an age when bands like his are banished to the classic-rock ghetto, it’s hard to pass up 100 million viewers ñ especially when you’ve got a new tour to promote.
Not so coincidentally, tickets for Mr. Petty’s North American tour go on sale Monday: The same guy who sang “I was born a rebel” was also born a pretty smart businessman.