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Author Topic: 1995 Pearl Doggy Show Review  (Read 18981 times)
walktall2010
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« on: August 11, 2010, 01:46:13 pm »

JOHN MELLENCAMP
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.
The Orbit Room, Jan. 14, 1995

Sometimes I look in the mirror and think, 'I had a heart attack,' "
said John Mellencamp minutes before taking the stage at the Orbit
Room, a 1,650-capacity club in Grand Rapids, Mich. "Let's face it,
man: We're not kids anymore."

That admission provided a dramatic background to the nearly two hours
of ferocious rock & roll Mellencamp unleashed. These two shows --
Mellencamp, 43, also performed the previous night -- were his first
since a minor myocardial infarction forced him to cancel a third of
his tour this past summer. The idea was to see what it felt like to
be onstage again. The band -- guitarists Mike Wanchic and Andy York,
bassist Toby Myers and drummer Kenny Aronoff -- rehearsed a wide-
ranging selection of covers for nine hours at Mellencamp's studio in
Belmont, Ind., then boarded a bus for Michigan.

The night kicked off with a salute to one of Michigan's finest, a
blistering version of the Stooges' "No Fun." That deemed the
evening's defiantly unsentimental tone, as raw renditions of John
Lennon's "Cold Turkey," Bob Dylan's 'All Along the Watchtower," Neil
Young's "Down by the River" and the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always
Get What You Want' (which featured side trips through the Velvet
Underground's "Heroin" and "Sister Ray") explored themes of
mortality, physical suffering, self-destruction and redemption.
Seeing the singer light a cigarette between songs -- he's under
strict orders to stop -- take a couple of drags, grimace and throw it
to the floor made it clear that such concerns are far from abstract
for Mellencamp now.

That serious subtext aside, this was also Saturday night in a
Midwestern bar, and Mellencamp didn't shirk his responsibilities as
the Orbit's weekend house band: Van Morrison's "Gloria," Count
Five's "Psychotic Reaction" and Mellencamp's own "Lonely Ol'
Night," "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.," "Hurts So Good" and "Authority
Song" shook the night to a close.

"I have no plans -- maybe start another album soon, probably play
some more shows like this," Mellencamp said after the show. Whatever
comes next, this explosive set demonstrated that despite his heart
attack, John Mellencamp's rock & roll heart still beats hard and
strong.

--ANTHONY DECURTIS
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