Last weekend, Emily and I had the opportunity to see John Mellencamp in concert. Like about everyone who grew up in the 80s, we really enjoy his music and had great memories of the “glory days” in school when his music meant so much to us.
We did a ricochet trip to Charlotte, NC…we basically drove in, heard the concert, spent the night and returned the next morning. Maybe it was a bit like our care-free time of growing up…or more likely my cheapskate kicking in so we didn’t have to pay for another night at a hotel.
Anyhow, the concert was in a mid-sized arena…maybe 5-6k people attended. At first, we were the youngest people there which sort of surprised me. Soon enough though we were in a sea of people of all ages. Mellencamp is 63 and has been playing for a long time so I guess his music has appeal across many years though I am sure his most famous period was when I was a teenager.
John puts on a good old-fashioned rock-and-roll show. It’s not full of flames and lights and dancing all over stage, but it’s loud enough and his songs are just plain awesome! He mostly played his famous songs, Jack and Diane, Hurts So Good, Small Town, and Authority Song. Emily, not being a true fan apparently, had never heard of his absolute best song, Rain on the Scarecrow. I know it is probably not as well known as many of his others so I was surprised (and nearly brought to tears…except I don’t cry), when he fired up that song during the concert! It was fantastic!
On stage with him, he had a fantastic violinist and another musician who played “everything else” including piano, accordion and harmonica. It was sort of classic Mellencamp sounds but I guess I never really thought about what went into his music. I loved it!
Unlike many current musicians, John Mellencamp sounded great live and pretty much exactly like he does on his produced versions (geez…I struggled with what to say there…cassettes, LPs, mp3s…he’s been around for it all!) I was a little surprised when he lit up a cigarette on stage, but I guess that’s an 80s throwback thing too maybe.
I almost forgot…the concert was opened by Carlene Carter which seemed like a huge surprise as she is most definitely in the style of her mother and grandmother…i.e. older style country. I really enjoyed her songs and singing as well, but it was a surprise. We later found out that she and John and working together on a project so it did make sense…her opening was a nice bonus!
Friends, if you are a child of the 80s and get the opportunity to hear John Mellencamp, buy some tickets and enjoy an fun evening! Sing as loud as you can and take your kids so they can be thoroughly embarrassed…but show them how rock and roll was meant to be done!