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Author Topic: South Bend Fan Review  (Read 6004 times)
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« on: January 26, 2015, 09:38:46 pm »

Great review from a great fan.

Are You Ready?

John Mellencamp kicked off an 80 city North American tour in South Bend, IN on Jan 21, 2015 at the Morris Performing Arts Center, in support of his recently released record, Plain Spoken. Mellenheads around the country rejoiced! This is JM's first major tour in several years. Opening night is where all the pod people [see 'superfan' in the dictionary] converge - it's legend. Almost. And, come, we did - from California, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and Minnesota. Oh, did I mention we had front row seats?? Yes, yes, we did. Again, almost expected. We are, after all, super fans.

Carlene Carter opened the show, engaging the audience with stories as she played her set. She's almost legend, too, as part of family royalty from her grandmother to her mother to her stepfather. See Maybelle Carter, June Carter and Johnny Cash. You get my drift.

Alas, after months of anticipation, John and the band stepped onto the stage.
It was the first of many mouth dropping moments. They were all dressed in formal wear with a very nostalgic look. A sharp dressed band. I've never seen them look so dapper.

The set began with Lawless Times, a number from the new record, quickly followed by another new one, Troubled Man. Everyone in the front of the house was on their feet. And on our feet we stayed. All night. Clapping, singing, dancing, with a few loud 'whoops' thrown in for good measure. The third song, a perennial favorite and heart grabber whenever it's played, was Minutes To Memories. Small Town was a rollicking number backed by the band. Did I mention how sharp they looked dressed in their formal wear? Yeah, I did. I remember. The next song on the set list, cue the second mouth drop of the night, was Stones In My Passway, and, again, was understood, as a die hard fan. John covered it, a Robert Johnson tune, in 2003, and he always kicked ass performing it, probably one of most passionate of performances. It's been years since we heard JM perform it. GOOSEBUMPS. Human Wheels is another perennial favorite, including participation moves with hands circling in the air during the line "human wheels spinning 'round and 'round." Think of it as a Rocky Horror picture show at a concert. Fun times. Nothing better. Okay, back to the set list and the killer show JM performed. Another new favorite song made the list, The Isolation of Mister followed by Check It Out.

John then went into an acoustic portion with Longest Days, a sing along with the audience on Jack and Diane, and with that, Troye Kinnette sat down at the piano, and accompanied JM on a completely rearranged version of Full Catastrophe of Life. It was nothing like I've EVER heard JM do before. It was lounge singer meets soul singer meets blues singer. I was a puddle. On the floor. With my mouth hanging open. Again.

At some point, during the acoustic set, John dealt with a heckler who was shouting at him to 'just sing' as he was introducing one of the songs. John barked back at him with an expletive laced rant, and rightly so. We missed part of the story about the ice cream, too. Thanks, dude [insert sarcasm].

John then brought out Carlene to sing two numbers, Away From This World and Tear This Cabin Down, both from "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," a musical written by Stephen King and JM. Carlene was added to the touring cast last fall. She was joined by John on the latter. My one friend leaned over and whispered "June and Johnny Cash right there." Yep. Pretty close. Again, this was something a die hard fan 'gets.' They exit the stage. Miriam Sturm and Troye Kinnett enter, taking center stage, and begin this beautiful rendition of Overture, an instrumental from 1996 "Mr Happy Go Lucky!!" I have never heard this live as I missed this tour. Vacation or something, and before I started traveling to shows. Overture was yet another die hard fan addition. Incredible. Mind blown, again. Mouth agape.  

With that, the rocking classic portion of the evening kicks off, with Scarecrow, Paper In Fire, If I Die Sudden, Crumbling Down, R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A., and Pink Houses. If I Die Sudden is not exactly one of the classics. It hails from "Life, Death, Love and Freedom." I saw it performed for the first time at Farm Aid in 2007. John kicks ass on it, too. It's a neck and neck performance version with Stones In My Passway.

Band intros included a Happy Birthday sing along to longtime guitarist Mike Wanchic, after JM announced it was his 63rd birthday.

The night was capped off with Cherry Bomb, a song I always hear a lot of fans complain afterwards if it's not included in the show. It may be time to stay home if you're not on your feet during this song!

The band joined John center stage, then exited, and with that, John took a few more appreciative bows, and ended with his trademark side swipe 'see you later' arm motions.

John Mellencamp melted faces and blew minds with opening night.

One down, seventy nine to go.
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2015, 11:46:37 am »

Thanks for posting this review!  I wasn't quite sure it was forum worthy.  Smiley

This getting older
Ain't for cowards
This getting older
Is a lot to go through
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2015, 04:42:46 pm »

Fantastic Review.

Extremely well written as well. Makes the reader feel as if they were there. I appreciate reading such enthusiasm with a great amount of attention to detail.



It's what you do and not what you say, if you're not part of the future then get out of the way.
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