It’s either a sad update to a classic, or a necessary one. Or both.
Last night at the House of Blues in Boston, Tom Petty’s pre-Heartbreakers band Mudcrutch performed a mid-set cover of Bob Dylan’s 1973 song “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”. In the third verse, Petty made a slight — but significant — tweak to the lyrics, replacing the traditional “guns” with a deadlier, more modern form, singing: “Ma’ take my automatic weapons and put them in the ground, I can’t shoot anymore.”
The line comes in just around the four-minute mark of the fan-filmed video below. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” has been a familiar cover for Petty over the years, but the tweak last night certainly felt like a response to the recent shooting rampage in Orlando. At recent tour stops at Webster Hall in New York and The Fillmore in Philadelphia, both held before Sunday morning’s Pulse Nightclub shooting, Petty used the word “guns”.
The Mudcrutch tour continues Sunday in San Francisco.