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Farm Aid 2009 a Huge Success
10.05.2009 - John and his band warmed up a sold-out crowd yesterday with their Farm Aid 2009 set at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Maryland Heights, Mo., just outside of St. Louis.

It was a chilly, early Fall evening when they hit the stage around 7:40 Central. But the full moon shone brightly on the pumped-up Farm Aid fans when John lit into “Pink Houses” following an introduction from John’s fellow Farm Aid board member Dave Matthews, whose set with Tim Reynolds preceded John’s. Dave's short but heartfelt introduction included "he has always spoken out for the working man, and I think he is awesome, and I am a big fan of his music." A powerful version of “Paper In Fire” followed, then “Check It Out.”

After thanking his fellow Farm Aid board members (Matthews, Neil Young and Willie Nelson) for their efforts, John did an acoustic solo turn on “Save Some Time to Dream,” the new song from John’s forthcoming album “No Better Than This,” which he performed during the summer tour with Nelson and Bob Dylan. He followed this with an acoustic “Small Town,” then Miriam Sturm and Troye Kinnett came out to do their fiddle/accordion spin on the hymn “Old Wooden Cross” as a prelude to the full band’s return for a very hard-rocking “Rain On the Scarecrow,” the latter powered by the rhythmic force of Dane Clark on drums and Jon Gunnell on bass.

The energy level continued with “Troubled Land,” thanks to Troye’s awesome organ intro and Mike Wanchic and Andy York—both tearing into their guitars. “If I Die Sudden” maintained the momentum, fueled by Miriam’s fiery solo. When John brought out son Speck to jam on the closing “Authority Song,” every person in the 24,000-plus audience was up dancing. It ended with a huge sing-along led by John, followed by a deafening crowd roar. John joked that the now 6 foot tall 14 year old Speck was trying out for the band.

John would briefly return to the stage to introduce Neil Young and express his admiration for Young’s extraordinary 46-album career output, including by John's approximation 460 songs - and John bragged to know 390 of them. He said he could sing along to all of his songs - and he knew everyone in the crowd could too.

John had also helped get the event underway earlier in the day, when he attended the Farm Aid press conference with the other board members and participating artists.

“Calling something progress doesn’t make it right,” he said, referring to the emergence of the big-box stores that have taken over Middle America by forcing out the small mom-and-pop retailers. He provided another choice sound bite with a similar comment that likewise related to the small farmer: “Judging success by the amount of money somebody makes doesn’t make it successful.”

During the day, Mellencamp.com and ClubCherryBomb.net representatives TonyB and SharonC proudly presented John with a $2,100 check—the annual Fan Club Farm Aid donation. It was another impressive showing by a fan base that continues to share John’s commitment to the plight of the independent American farmer.

Here are John's comments from the Sunday morning press conference:

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MORE COVERAGE:

For a limited time Farm Aid 2009 is available for streaming viewing online! Click HERE to head over to FarmAid.org to watch now!

DIRECTV's The 101 Network will be broadcasting Farm Aid 2009 Presented by Horizon Organic in HD, commercial-free, and in surround sound at the following times (all times Eastern):
Monday, 10/5: 8pm
Wednesday, 10/7: 3pm
Saturday, 10/10: 2pm
Saturday, 10/10: 8pm
Sunday, 10/11: 2pm
Monday, 10/12: 8pm

See Photos from the Concert: Farm Aid had photographers documenting all the action from the show, check out their official gallery or view their flickr page. If you post photos you took at the concert, please upload them to flickr and use "farmaid09" as your tag to share!

Check out Mellencamp.com's live twitter comments here.

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