Penticton Western News: John Mellencamp R-O-C-K's In The SOEC
06.15.2012 - By Kristi Patton -
Penticton Western News
No encore? Forgivable when you have just witnessed a hall of famer perform with
an amazing band backing him up.
Still, when John Mellencamp left the South Okanagan Events Centre stage on
Thursday evening after saying thank you to the crowd, one would expect an
encore. In fact, the whole building did. The SOEC shook with cheers and people
pounding on the floor, stage and seats wanting more for about four minutes until
they realized the road crew was actually packing up. It would have been the
perfect time for Hurts so Good, which was missed during the approximate
90-minute concert which has the Cowboy Junkies as the opening act for the
Canadian dates on the No Better Than This Tour.
But, I digress. Mellencamp came out rocking with Authority Song and laid back
with No One Cares About Me on his stage, dressed like it was out of the
Footloose barn dance with strings of lights hanging from the rafters, a sepia
backdrop and perfect lighting giving it an intimate feel, albeit, the SOEC
appeared to be almost sold out. No One Cares About Me was recorded at Sun
Studios in 2009 for his No Better Than This album, which upon release Mellencamp
told the Rolling Stone that he was "done being a rock star" and he has no
interest in having the biggest concerts, only "to have fun while we're doing
this and maybe have something that somebody might discover." It could be the
reason why the SOEC audience saw stripped down versions and different
arrangements of some of his biggest hits.
Mellencamp seemed to loosen up for Check It Out, handing out high fives to those
at the front of the stage and giving his trademark arm pumps. The lights dimmed
and the band took a breather as the spotlight centered on Mellencamp who stood
alone with an acoustic guitar.
"I came one million miles to see you folks tonight," he said before garnering
the loudest cheers of the night to this point by simply stating "A little
The crowd immediately recognized what was next and sang right along with
Mellencamp for Jack & Diane, he applauded them after for joining in.
"I'm going to be playing all kinds of song you may known or don't know. Sing
along if you know them, or if you are waiting for a particular song, wait for
it, we will get around to it, probably," he told the crowd.
Mellencamp told a story about his grandma, who called him Buddy. She inspired
him to write the song Longest Days. He imparted some wisdom to the crowd stating
"this life is short, even in its longest days." He finished off the acoustic set
with a version of Small Town that the crowd ate up with violinist Miriam Strum
and accordionist Troye Kinnett adding beautiful accompaniment.
Mellencamp guitarist, Andy York, promised the Western News a "balls out" rock
'n' roll show and for the third segment of the concert and that is what the
audience got. The speakers even seemed to turn up a little louder for the final
set that kicked off with Rain On The Scarecrow. Also included in the final set
was Paper and Fire, Crumbling Down, R.O.C.K in the USA and Pink Houses which had
one gentleman dancing his heart out on the stairs of section 109-110. Mellencamp
then brought the house down with Cherry Bomb with the crowd belting out the
lyrics right along with him. The band exited the stage and Mellencamp gracefully
bowed to each section of the crowd.
When you have a legendary artist like Mellencamp performing songs that span his
amazing career of rock 'n' roll to folk/blues tunes, it really can't get no
better than this.