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Lehigh Valley Music: Mellencamp -- And His Wife -- Like Coca-Cola Park
07.15.2009 - Allentown's Coca-Cola Park has an admirer in John Mellencamp.

After a blistering, 12-song, hour-long set in the stadium Tuesday, Mellencamp stood outside his silver Airstream trailer in the tour bus area behind the right field wall, unwrapping a pack of Salem cigarettes.

For how intense Mellencamp was on stage, he was mellow and quiet backstage, enjoying Allentown's cool dusk air.

"It's really a nice place," Mellencamp said. Told he was playing the first concert ever at the year-and-a-half-old facility, he said, "Really? I hope we get to come back."

Of course, Mellencamp probably is biased.

His wife, former model Elaine Irwin Mellencamp, is a native of Berks County and knows Allentown well.

Elaine Irwin Born in Gilbertsville, she attended Boyertown High School, where she was a varsity letter winner in track and cross country before entering the modeling industry in 1985. In a 2002 interview in Indian Woman magazine, she recounted how, between her junior and senior years, she and her mother, Lynn Stanton, would wake at 4:30 a.m. and drive to Allentown so she could catch a bus to model in New York. Stanton would pick her up back in Allentown at 8 p.m.

Her break came at 16, when her photo appeared in Seventeen magazine and she became a much sought-after face for advertisements, commercials and magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Vogue. An honor society student, she doubled up on her high school classes to graduate early.

She was 23 when she married Mellencamp after meeting him while appearing in one of his videos. They have two sons, Hud, 15, and Speck, 14.

Irwin, who turns 40 this year, was with Mellencamp backstage at the show, sitting in a lounge chair having a drink with a friend - who said she was a Lehigh University grad. Irwin said she no longer has family in the area - "my parents moved south years ago" - but says she still has friends here.

She also mentioned reading The Morning Call in her younger years.

John Mellencamp, 57, said the tour with Dylan has been busy - so much so that he said he only in recent days got to see a physical copy of his new CD, "Life Death LIVE and Freedom," which was released three weeks earlier.

Click HERE to read the article and view photos from the show on their website.

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