December 1998

Tom Petty - Full Moon Fever
Mobile Fidelity
UDCD 735
Originally released: 1989
Remaster released: 1998

by Steven Rochlin

Musical Performance ****1/2
Recording Quality ****1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****1/2

[Reviewed on Gold CD]This new Tom Petty reissue chimes in MoFi's third (or so) CD mastering system -- more specifically, the new Gain 2[TM] with DSD system. As before, Mobile Fidelity called in some of the greatest engineers in the industry to revamp the mastering system from top to bottom -- and the results are worth it. As a longtime resident of Gainesville, Florida (Tom Petty's home town), I have seen Petty live quite a few times and own many of his albums on vinyl and CD. This all leads us to this new remastering of Full Moon Fever.

Petty's music is the type that you can sit back and relax to, or rock with and really get into. With so many old-time rockers evolving, their newest releases sound more like technologic-electronica-rock-garbage-junk than what made them great to begin with. Sad but true. Canadian rockers Rush did this and have learned from their mistake. Now Rush is changing its ways (note: their latest tour was kickin', and the new album rocks da house boyeee!). But listen to the new Aerosmith or Rolling Stones albums and then their older recordings. OK, I can hear the hate e-mail hitting my server now, but c'mon. The new Stones and Aerosmith bite! Meanwhile Tom Petty has that same old-time rock groove today just as when he and his band played "American Girl" on their first album and also for the classic movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High. ("All I need are some tasty waves and cool buds" -- Spicolli’s and maybe Tom Petty's credo?) Remember "Here Comes My Girl" on Damn The Torpedoes? A true classic! Petty is one of those guys you could have a groovy little mellow party with and he'd just show up all unpretentious and some folks wouldn't even know he was there. Ahhh, my memories of kegfests in Gainesville....

Petty’s Full Moon Fever is filled with great hits like "Free Fallin’," "I Won't Back Down," and "A Face in the Crowd." It didn't take a careful listen like with some reissues to hear the difference between MoFi’s remaster and the original release. It was painfully obvious how good MoFi's new Gain 2 with DSD system must be. Or perhaps it is that I am more familiar with Tom Petty's music than that of other bands. Even the 1993 "digitally remastered" Greatest Hits CD [MCAD-10813], which was an improvement over the regular CD, is pale in comparison to the new Full Moon Fever. The sheer sound quality of this remaster is just about what CD promised to us over 15 years ago. The natural dynamics sound, well, amazingly good here. This CD is one of the very few that I feel has finally come darned close to master-tape sound. Now before you go all out sending me hate mail about how 24-bit/96kHz stuff is better per my earlier review, please listen to this CD first. I can't help but be amazed how well the natural dynamics, sustained notes, micro dynamics, and musician/instrument interaction sound here. The delineation of each recorded track is easily heard and has its own personality ("track" as in these songs are multi-track recorded, and not "track" as in from one song to another).

Each time I listen to this CD I'm amazed how great it is -- the music, the remastered sound quality. Forget all those audiophile-approved CDs for a moment and head right to the store (after surfing those tasty Australian waves) and grab one of these discs ASAP. Then sit back, grab those cool buds and party! I'm free, free fallin’....