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Beach Boys, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen Rock First Weekend of Jazz Fest

Brian Wilson Tom Petty Bruce Springsteen
Rick Diamond / Streeter Lecka / Rick Diamond, Getty Images

In recent years, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, or simply, JazzFest, has grown beyond its roots as the nation’s premier showcase for the city’s unique contributions to American music. While it still features plenty of jazz, blues, Cajun, soul, gospel and funk, the festival now brings in some of the biggest names in classic rock as headliners. The first weekend saw the Beach Boys, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band close out each day’s musical festivities.

Only a few days into their 50th anniversary tour, the Beach Boys performed Friday (April 27). Opening with ‘Do It Again,’ they took the audience on a journey through their incredible catalog of hits, occasionally using medleys to cram 28 chestnuts into their set. Along the way, they performed such classics as ’409,’ ‘God Only Knows’ and their new single, ‘That’s Why God Made the Radio‘ before closing with ‘Fun Fun Fun.’

On the second day, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, long one of rock’s most dependable bands, naturally delivered the hits in their set which ran longer than their allotted two hours. But they also threw in a few surprises, such as covers of J.J. Cale’s ‘Traveling Light’ and Bo Diddley’s ‘I’m A Man.’

Bruce Springsteen, who played Jazz Fest in 2006 with the Americana ensemble he called the Sessions Band, brought the E Street Band for Sunday’s performance. But he also had some help from someone who knows his way around New Orleans. Dr. John, who played earlier in the day, sat in with Springsteen on Chris Kenner’s 1961 hit ‘Something You Got’ and the spiritual ‘Oh Mary Don’t You Weep.’

Jazz Fest concludes next weekend with Jimmy Buffett, Eagles and the Neville Brothers as headliners.

Watch the Beach Boys Sing ‘Good Vibrations’

Watch Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Sing ‘Here Comes My Girl’

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