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Author Topic: John Mellencamp Massey Hall Feb 9 & 10 2011  (Read 4723 times)
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« on: November 08, 2011, 08:14:02 pm »

John Mellencamp Massey Hall Feb 9 & 10 2011

the show started at 7pm with a documentary that was made about the recording of his newest cd called no better than this. shot in super 8 means it'll most likely never make the big screen. the tickets for both nights specifically said film 7pm show 820pm. i watched the film twice and had to shhh at least a few people. it's like WT F**K people, do you chat that loud at every movie? anyways. it was really cool seeing the process of how that cd got recorded, in mono with 1 mic in the middle of the room while the band played and john sang. t bone burnett did a killer job. the title was, it's about you. john recorded it in churches, robert johnson hotel room, sun records studio etc

god's gonna cut you down, by johnny cash opens the show on the pa as the lights dim and the band takes the stage in very low lighting. perfect. indescribable, really. when the stars are aligned just right, massey hall can be the best venue ever. tonight, the church is in town, and the congregation has gathered for the feast. i was always a believer but i have to admit that i lost a little faith because of the casino shows last year. thankfully, i would find out soon, that, on this very night, john's journey of discovery becomes far from over. john's developed a new chapter to his book, and for me personally, this might be the best one yet.

the introducer tells us about john and then hails the man, in a classic dylan style opener

right into authority song, that stops 1/2 way through so john can let the crowd roar+ and then he continues with the rest of the song, making sure the call and response and sing-a-long had everyone dialed in from the first song. smart play. for me, as a long time fan, i was blown away. all i could think of was how will he top this! best song opener ever for me because this song is all about attitude, and john's got lots of that.

but, maybe i'm moving too fast right now. i'll take a step back. well, it all comes down to when john is really troubled, he is at his best, for me. he sings great happy songs but the quiet darkness that lurks throughout his songwriting career have also been songs that i have cherished the most. he just got divorced, since i had seen him last summer, and has still been staring at death a lot lately. his last anger inspired period was just before he met the wife, that he just divorced now. this latest tour has many songs that are the perfect choices of the non hit numbers. the choices john made are pretty much exactly what i would have picked to hear. there are naturally just songs in any rock show, but tonight, there is a underlying story that's bigger than the songs alone. john is troubled and that makes me really happy.

i am still madly in love with the power of live music and the element of surprise. i went to these gigs with no certain big expectations other than it being a nice venue and i had great cheap seats. although, i don't consider $75 a cheap seat. it's simply amazing that after all these past shows that we've shared, that finally, my perfect mellencamp show had arrived. there are few performers who i have every cd of and john is one. i know every new/old moment+. these 2 shows put john way back up the list. the whole show flowed so well. maybe it was because last summer's casino shows seemed so dialed in. with certain, seeing mellencamp in massey hallx2 became as epic as it gets for me. i've seen every toronto show since the lonesome jubille tour. i've hit many roads to chase those familiar songs. after all of that, i finally got the live setlist that i most connected with. pure magic, because it happened live, and i was dialed right in for it.


no one cares about me was an incredible 2nd song choice. it's a new song. it's seems semi mellencamp autobiographical which i really enjoy. this song delivered a certain swing and that was something different this time around. john toured last summer with dylan and willie and i beleive he might have picked up some recent dylan/willie influence, which isn't a bad thing. i love live brand new.

death letter is perfectly haunting with andrew york's slide geetar blazin. another solid, non hit, song choice. mellencamp growled this song out...the drummer(dane) is still banging on two large upright kettle drums while his full kit sits unattended, for now. dark blues shuffle. sweet

john cockers is what catapulted the show into high gear for me. john was belting out the lyrics like they were so believable. such angry lyrics, with killer drumming. it brought back memories from 18 years ago when he was just about to marry a new wife(elaine) and he had just released my favorite troubled cd, called whenever we wanted. i became so connected with the live performance of this song because the lyrics are exactly what he is going through. this is the song where the music and the man become one. as a person who just loves the singer/ songwriter/ guitar player types this is truely john's pinnacle dark moment for me.

walk tall finally gave the hits only fans something to tap their foot to, i love this song and it doesn't get played enough live. it was a complete and total surprise to me. it's a nugget of a song, that wasn't on the 2011 tour prep play list. i had forgotten how relevant that message is. it's a great addition to any mellencamp setlist, anything but the top 10.

the west end is so ghastly bleak, dark, and bitter, and, "we are the west end". on record, the
setlist has now totally shocked me, due to the lack of the top 10 so far. the band is playing super tight and john is growling out this song as well. another perfect choice for any people who like a little dark.

i love john's top 4, and, check it out, is definitely one of those big hits that everyone in
attendance knows. again, another gold star on the timing in the setlist for this oldie. "is this all that we've learned about living?". it was a perfectly placed big hit, and a nice break for the people who spent a lot of money to see/hear the hits.

save some time to dream is a another new beauty. john went solo acoustic on this one and it instantly slowed down the whole pace of the show. more perfect timing, especially after that last huge song. "save some time for your family, and yourself". we are back on the program.

cherry bomb was sung by john and the audience only. everyone in massey hall was
smiling, laughin laughin, singin singin. another top 5 hit, done with a splendid twist, no
instruments at all. a nice little dittie. he gave the massey hall crowd exactly what they wanted but did it differently for the hard core fans. perfect live surprise version of a huge hit.

john gets chatty and talks about being a dangerous kid vs dangerous old man. he talked about other things throughout the night that were personal to him ie) laying on his dying grandmother's bed praying, which was a funny and a very real touching story. he was quite entertaining/fun, considering. he is a troubled man these days. he talked a little more on night two. no deviations from the setlist what so ever. oh, john had a pretty white religious statue on his guitar amp both nights.

did i mention that i like when john's sings about being on the edge of defeat, yet still kicking?
don't need this body is the precise moment of us watching/hearing him deal with his own mortality, in his own song. very dark and spine chilling. it's something we'll have to all deal with at some time in our lives. why not write/sing a song about it. live is where this song comes together. so nicely dark and so true.

right behind me gave us another chance to experience john's new shuffle. the band played as he told a lead in story that flowed right into the song seamlessly. i enjoyed the song because it's new. he mentions the devil quite a few times in the song, so as long as the main theme of the show stayed in line, then i was ok with this choice. yet another new one off john's new cd that t bone burnett calls "a haunted record"

jackie brown was introduced as being about a guy in 1988 who john knew, who couldn't catch a break. solo acoustic, the audience ate it up. it was so sad, so real, and from one of my fave mellencamp eras. a complete absolute surprise, and another deep non hit track. if i was to ever go back to that period and have to pick 1 song that i would most like to see played solo acoustic, that would have been my choice.

life is short even in its longest days, was his dying grandmother's words to him. another solo acoustic performance that is keeping the theme of the night together. total church moment x 10. this new track, played right after jackie brown, hit my inner core hard. i can say with comfort, that it was john's finest moment during this show, or any show of his, that i've ever seen. massey hall was smiling ear to ear.

easter eve another new story telling song. no complaints. and, maybe now, it's start time to kick it off.

jack and diane was certainly due. a new happy country swing version was delivered. this version is top shelf, so good, so different. so happy, so very swinging, and so dylan(who is the ultimate swing rearranger of his own songs). because of the new arrangement of this song i found myself enjoying it more than ever.

top 5 is good with me, so is small town. gone is the sentence "my wife was 13 years old when i wrote this song". it's a perfect slow solo acoustic version, just us, john and his guitar

new hymn was fiddle(miriam) and accordion(troy) solo. no vocals. john's smoke break

scarecrow had dark fire colored lights, with lots of reds and deep yellows. i thought that was especially perfect considering the topic of discussion. the full band emerged for this and it rocked like it always does. i found myself reminiscing of having pat peterson and lisa germano in the band. its been such a long journey of great songs/music.

paper n fire. "so he chased the wind cause that's all his silly life required" again, everyone is on board for this one, even the few yahoos in attendance. the band is full on, loud, and the fiddle is pumping. more big old school fun. as good as it gets for the old kats.

the real life is really my song, and maybe it's a song for all his fans. it certainly is the one song that helped make me a big fan. starts off with the words "suzanne divorced her husband she got the keys to the car and the home, but her friends were really his friends..." considering what john was going through with his new divorce, new beginning, it seemed more relevant than ever before. this song is why i love music so much. it's a life anthem. a call to all troops to live it up right now while we all still can. i want the real life.

just while i was loving the latest surge of energy, john then kicked it up even further and played what if i came knocking. it's a song that totally rocks, has attitude and exudes much confidence. like walk tall, this song was also a surprise. not a top 10 hit for most of the crowd, but for me it was breathtaking. the peak loud rock moment of the show. look up arsenio hall and this song on utube, if you need to.

if i die sudden was another personal troubled highlight. john questions why i/we shouldn't always be prepared for death. "don't be calling no minister, cause i don't need no preacher around" amen brother. great bleak timing/placement after a run of happy. death can be so troublesome

no better than this ties up the night in a neat bow. full band with the full swing. one of my
favorite new songs.

john announces 2 more songs and that's it. "but they're old favorites"
=no needless clapping for the 2.5min encore break bs tonight. nice touch there john.

pink houses goes down
band intros>r.o.c.k in the usa

as said, for me, the perfect show

over 2 hours

authority song
no one cares about me
death letter
john cockers
walk tall
the west end
check it out
save some time to dream
cherry bomb
don't need this body
right behind me
jackie brown
longest days
easter eve
jack and diane
small town
new hymn
rain on the scarecrow
paper in fire
real life
what if i came knocking
if i die sudden
no better than this
pink houses
rock in usa
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