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12/30/2011 - Read John J. Moser's complete list after the jump. Here are some excerpts: "The two best concerts I attended in 2011 had a lot in common.

Each featured a veteran rocker at the peak of his ability to connect to the audience, playing precisely the right songs and performing them precisely the right way. And at each show, the artist played with palpable passion.

It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that the two shows that were my favorite were so alike. They were by the same performer, John Mellencamp, in February at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia and in November at Reading's Sovereign Performing Arts Center.

1. John Mellencamp Nov. 4, Sovereign Center for Performing Arts, Reading, and, Feb. 2 at Academy of Music, Philadelphia: More than almost any of his stylistic forebears, or contemporaries, Mellencamp has faced aging not with the sage understanding of a Bob Dylan or the sad searching of a Bruce Springsteen, but with the same defiance that has always marked his music. His shows were celebrations of that defiance both were about two hours, with more than 20 songs each, including nearly all his hits. In Mellencamp's case, oh yeah, life goes on.
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