Tom Petty tribute kicks off Naper Nights concert series

Updated 6/14/2018 11:32 AM
  • The PettyBreakers will pay tribute to the music of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers with a headlining set scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, June 15, to conclude the first of six Naper Nights concerts this summer at the Naper Settlement.

    The PettyBreakers will pay tribute to the music of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers with a headlining set scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, June 15, to conclude the first of six Naper Nights concerts this summer at the Naper Settlement. Courtesy of Naper Settlement

For six evenings this summer, Naper Settlement will be not a museum, but a concert site.

For six evenings this summer, tribute bands will perform the hits that made major acts famous, from classic rockers Tom Petty and Bob Seger to country's the Zac Brown Band, piano powerhouses Elton John and Stevie Wonder and tropical jammer Jimmy Buffett.

For six evenings this summer, food, drinks, games and charity partners will join to create an atmosphere of community and celebration at the annual events to commemorate the history of rock, said Adison Glick, special events coordinator for the Settlement.

Naper Nights concerts are set for June 15 and 16, July 20 and 21 and Aug. 17 and 18 on the grounds of the historical museum at 523 S. Webster St. Each evening begins at 5 or 6 p.m. with a professional cover band if the 6 p.m. show is first, or kids from the School of Rock if there's a 5 p.m. gig.

Glick said the idea is to welcome members who support the city's history to enjoy a night of relaxation and music while introducing newcomers to what the museum has to offer, such as buildings that replicate what life was like when Joseph Naper founded the town in 1831.

First-time attendees might be surprised to find a blacksmith's shop, an old-style fire station and a historic mansion not far from the stage where they'll be watching tribute acts such as Soulshine, covering the Allman Brothers Band, or Tom Thumb's Band, playing the music of Bob Dylan.

But the first headlining act set to take the stage at 8 p.m. Friday, June 15, is The PettyBreakers, covering Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. The California-based band is making a repeat performance at Naper Nights because last year's show was called off early because of a storm, band member Ozzie Mancinelli said.

"We're grateful that we get to be back again this year and get to do our full show," Mancinelli said. "There were a lot of hits that didn't get played, and we hope to play them this time around."

"American Girl," "Breakdown," "Free Fallin'," "Runnin' Down a Dream," the list goes on. Mancinelli said fans have been even more eager to hear Petty's biggest hits since his death in October 2017.

"People used to come to our shows and celebrate the fact we were reproducing Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers songs," he said. "Now other people are there to, I don't know, maybe heal. There are people that are still hurting -- us included. Fans are really mourning this loss in a hard way."

After last year's show was cut short, Mancinelli said the band headed to Quigley's Irish Pub in downtown Naperville on the advice of some concertgoers. There, with borrowed guitars from another band that had been performing, The PettyBreakers played more of their songs. But it wasn't the same.

Now Mancinelli is hoping for pleasant weather to play a full set for a Naperville crowd looking to reminisce.

"A lot of people who come to our shows say, 'This is the soundtrack to my life. I grew up with this,'" he said.

While parents relive musical glory days, Glick said the events offer fun for kids with martial arts, face-painting and old-fashioned games. Different food vendors each night, including Sharko's BBQ, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Nando's Peri-Peri, will keep stomachs happy, and beer and wine will be for sale.

"Naper Nights is a wonderful and safe place for the entire family to enjoy a night out," Glick said. "Guests come knowing they will catch a concert full of songs they love, but the evening is always unique."

Proceeds from tickets, which cost $15 for adults and $10 for kids ages 4 to 12, benefit the city's history museum. Naperville nonprofits, such as ADOPT Pet Shelter and Loaves & Fishes Community Services also get a boost, as they collect tips in the beverage tent.

Guests are allowed to bring chairs and blankets, but not food or drink. For tickets in advance, visit or call (630) 420-6010.

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