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Author Topic: Another Minneapolis Review  (Read 8755 times)
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« on: November 23, 2010, 11:17:09 am »

Review: John Mellencamp embraces the past, in all its forms
By Rob Hubbard
Special to the Pioneer Press

"I'm not nostalgic."

So said John Mellencamp early on his first of two nights at Minneapolis' Orpheum Theatre on Monday night. He said it as part of a story that seemed designed to discourage requests for songs from early in the heartland rocker's career.

But Mellencamp demonstrated throughout the two-plus-hour show that he wasn't being totally truthful with that assertion. He is nostalgic, but it's not for the days when he created all those songs that still show up on "classic rock" stations with regularity. It's for the days when rock and roll was in its embryonic form, when acoustic blues and country were laying the groundwork for the style that eventually would make Mellencamp a star.

It's not a surprising choice for an Indiana native who has long been singing about his rural roots. And it's natural for a 59-year-old artist to think about turning down the volume a couple of notches. But that doesn't mean that Mellencamp and his six-piece band didn't rock. They just saved it for the end of the evening, thundering forth on the last eight tunes of a 25-song set. That's when they sealed the deal on a very satisfying show, treating the enthusiastic audience to versions of '80s hits that sounded closer to the originals than anything else performed all night.

Despite more than a third of the set coming from Mellencamp's last two albums, much of the music sounded considerably older. And the familiar was usually refashioned into something far more rootsy. The
opening "Authority Song" sounded like slicked-back vintage Eddie Cochran, "Walk Tall" became a honky-tonk ramble with fiddle and barrelhouse piano, and "Jack and Diane" was a sprightly country shuffle.

Back when the latter came out in 1982, Mellencamp delivered the thesis statement his lyrics would follow for the next almost-three decades: "Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone." There's a stark darkness to a lot of what he's written, and it really came out in the stripped-down acoustic setting he employed every few songs. But the mood was invariably enhanced by the ghostly echo-laden electric guitar of Andy York, who would take a tune to Bakersfield here or the swamps of Creedence Clearwater there. And Miriam Sturm's fiddle soared on every solo.

By the end of the show, 11 songs from the '80s had found their way into the set, so perhaps Mellencamp isn't just attached to a past from way before his career began. But it was a generous show, giving the fans what they wanted, but also allowing the leader to indulge in a more old-school style.

Rob Hubbard can be reached at [email protected].

Who: John Mellencamp

When: 6:45 p.m. today

Where: Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis

Tickets: $125-$43, available at 800-982-2787 or

Capsule: A well-played mix of old songs and new ones that sound very old.
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2010, 12:54:17 pm »

I didn't see this when I first logged in so those of you that read my last post responding to the star and trib review, here is the review you want to read from MN.  John and the band were excellent and my husband even danced and clapped during the entire show.  He doesn't normally do that so it showed me how much he liked it.  Second night I took my 13 year old daughter and she danced and sang with me.  She always kind of rolls her eyes at me when I talk about John's music but I think she really understands why I love it so much now.  We had such a blast!!!  Thanks for coming to MN to play for us John.

There is a time to cry and a time to get with it.
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2010, 07:41:36 pm »

I was up on stage with John dancing and singing on November 22, 2010. Please if anyone videotaped it I would love to have it. Thanks
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