John Mellencamp Community
July 16, 2024, 01:16:06 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
News: Visit's NEWS section for all of the latest updates!
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1]
Author Topic: Indianapolis Review  (Read 4726 times)
Global Moderator
Certified Mellenhead
Posts: 872

View Profile
« on: August 05, 2015, 08:00:44 pm »

Mellencamp relates life's highs, lows in Indianapolis
In his home state, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer touches all the bases

By David Lindquist

Sandwiched among songs John Mellencamp recorded during the past decade and his big hits from the 1980s, "The Full Catastrophe" emerged as the unlikely centerpiece of Tuesday's concert at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Originally recorded for 1996's "Mr. Happy Go Lucky Album," "Catastrophe" was resurrected in radically revamped form. Mellencamp, in neither folkie or Rock and Roll Hall of Famer mode, gave his audience something new.

He resembled a gritty lounge singer in Tom Waits' ballpark, bathed in blue light and accompanied by Troye Kinnett on upright piano. As its title implies, "The Full Catastrophe" is an encyclopedic overview of the human experience. "I've seen goodness, I've known the baddest around," sang Mellencamp, offering couplet encapsulation of the final date of his 80-date "Plain Spoken" tour of North America.

Ranging from rough-hewn storytelling in the tradition of Woody Guthrie to unrestrained arena-rock splendor, the show touched on life's highs and lows.

The persona adopted for "The Full Catastrophe" wasn't far removed from The Shape, a devilish character from "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" -- the "play with music" Mellencamp devised with author Stephen King. It probably wasn't a coincidence that two songs from "Ghost Brothers" followed "Catastrophe" on Tuesday's program.

Supporting act Carlene Carter was featured on both "Away from this World" and "Tear This Cabin Down." Always looking to the future, Mellencamp mentioned that "Ghost Brothers," a violent backwoods tale, is headed to London's West End Theatre District. Meanwhile, he's taking his "Plain Spoken" tour to Australia.

What energizes a 63-year-old rock star who's seen it all? On Tuesday, Mellencamp found life in a cover of Robert Johnson's "Stones in My Passway." Similar to Bob Dylan, Mellencamp can turn on or turn off smooth, easily understood vocals. Inspired to dance by Andy York's slide-guitar accents, Mellencamp sang clearly and passionately throughout "Passway" and ended with literal kicks to emphasize a repeated announcement that "I'm booked and I got to go."

Despite embracing theaters and modest-sized venues in recent years, Mellencamp didn't conceal his satisfaction at performing for about 8,000 fans in an NBA arena. Hearing Mellencamp perform "Minutes to Memories," "Pink Houses" and "Jack & Diane" in his home state should be a bucket-list goal for every Hoosier. The Seymour native drank in the energy during these tunes and let it flow back toward listeners on unexpected highlights "Catastrophe" and "Passway."

But with "The Isolation of Mister," he tested the patience of fans who were out for a good time. Recorded for last year's "Plain Spoken" album, "Mister" burrows deep into self-loathing. "I thought happiness was a transgression," Mellencamp sang, "and I just took it as it came." An attitude that modern life is rubbish certainly belongs on the spectrum of the full catastrophe, but Mellencamp served it in more palatable form on 1987's "The Lonesome Jubilee."

"Mister" gave way to "Jubilee" hit "Check It Out," and its disbelief that instant gratification is "all we have learned about living." Tuesday's show also featured "Jubilee" masterpiece "Paper in Fire" and its observation that "days of vanity went on forever."

Thoughtful commentary isn't a recent plot twist for Mellencamp. He's no longer a mainstream player, but discerning audiences are willing to hear his message. It doesn't hurt, however, to heed a Disney truism: A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
Pages: [1]
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.10 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!




Email Updates! Home Powered by BubbleUp,Ltd. John Mellencamp on John Mellencamp on Wikipedia John Mellencamp on John Mellencamp on John Mellencamp on John Mellencamp on John Mellencamp on John Mellencamp on John Mellencamp on