tbnewswatch.com: R.O.C.K In T.Bay
06.27.2012 - By Leith Dunick,
At this stage of his career, rocker John Mellencamp has nothing to prove to
But on Tuesday night, the 60-year-old singer proved himself all over again,
taking his Fort William Gardens fans on a trip through his own personal
rock-and-roll history, Indiana-style.
Mellencamp, on a cross-Canada tour, thrilled the crowd with a hits-laced
setlist, covering most of his well-known ditties in a show that lasted more than
He launched the show with the fast-paced, dance-hungry Authority Song, a
no-nonsense start to a stripped-down show worthy of a true American storyteller.
It took the nearly sold-out crowd awhile to warm up to Mellencamp, but six
songs in he got them on their feet with Check it Out, from his 1988 album The
Then it was down to business.
The lights dimmed, he rolled up his sleeves, turned his back to the audience
and walked slowly to the back of the stage, where he grabbed a guitar, turned to
face his fans and spoke to them for the first time all night.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I’m John Mellencamp. We’ve come 10
million miles to see you and perform tonight,” he said, promising a raucous
evening of music ahead.
“There’ll be some you don’t know, some you do know.
“We’re going to start by doing an old favourite of everybody’s. If you know
it, sing along.”
A campfire, sing-along version of his 1982 hit Jack and Diane ensued, with
Mellencamp gladly giving way to the crowd for the chorus, the crowd eagerly
eating up the opportunity to fill in the gaps.
His adoring followers were ready for a string of hits to come, but Mellencamp,
influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, Woodie Guthrie and Buddy Holly, had other
Oh, the singles would come, but first he paid tribute to his grandmother, who
lived to the ripe old age of 100, regaling the crowd with a tale of how she
never called him John, only referring to him as Buddy. One day she asked him to
pray with her, which he did.
All of a sudden, her voice got louder, Mellencamp said.
“She said, ‘Me and Buddy are ready to come home.’ 'Well Grandma,” he
answered, 'Buddy is not really ready to come home. Buddy has a lot more singing
But before she died, she gave him a piece of advice.
“One of these days, you’re going to find out this life is short, even in its
longest days,” Mellencamp’s cue to rip into Longest Days, the lead song off his
critically acclaimed 2008 album Life, Death, Love and Freedom, a song he later
dedicated to filmmaker Nora Ephron, who died Tuesday at age 71.
Then the hits started rolling.
BBathed in blue, Mellencamp laid forth his ode to rural America, Small Town,
which quickly led into a rip-roaring, crowd-swaying version of Scarecrow,
followed by the equally hot Paper and Fire. After a short dip back into his
extensive catalogue, the rocker found his second wind and finished strong.
Crumblin’ Down brought the aging house to its feet, but not to the ground,
Pink Houses satiated its appetite for Mellencamp’s best and after thanking his
band, he closed with R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A and Cherry Bomb, sending ticket
buyers streaming into the streets plenty satisfied, despite the dismal Gardens
Mellencamp certainly left out a few favourites, including Hurts So Good,
Dance Naked and Ain’t Even Done With the Night, but with his extensive
catalogue, no set list could cover it all.