AU's Undercover Music News: John Mellencamp Returns To Australia After 15 Years

By Paul Cashmere - November 22 2008

A lot has happened since John Mellencamp last graced Australian soil. Not long after he was here last time, the first Bush was leaving power. Now that he is back, Baby Bush is the latest White House eviction.

Songs with America in the title sounded mucky under the Bush’s regimes. It is amazing how positive ‘R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A’ sounds again now that `the evil is departing the building`.

Not only did the Bush’s both bring the world to the brink of destruction, their dark cloud soured all that was great about American culture. I don’t think the average American ever realised how negative their country had been viewed from outside for the last 8 years.

It is great to see America so positive again. People like John Mellencamp have been responsible for painting the soundtrack to that landscape over the years.

Last night at Rod Laver Arena felt like a celebration of American music, with Sheryl Crow followed by John Mellencamp.

John Mellencamp is both a songwriter and a storyteller and his songs tell a story of a real America, where people work hard and prosper.

Mellencamp has built up quite a catalogue over the years. It was fun hearing about his grandmother who lived to be 100. He told the story of visiting her when he was 45 and she was 100. She called him Buddy. She called it out God and “they” were ready to go. He said “Buddy ain’t ready, grandma”. She told him “life is short, even on its longest days”. He used it in his song ‘Longest Days”.

John dedicated ‘Love and Happiness’ to the eviction of George W. Bush. He said he once wrote a letter to Bush. Bush never responded.

A special mention should go to 13-year old Spec Mellencamp who joined his dad on stage for the encore.

Here is the setlist for John Mellencamp at Rod Laver Arena, November 21, 2008

Pink Houses (from Uh-Huh, 1983)
Paper In Fire (from Lonesome Jubilee, 1987)
My Sweet Love (from Life, Death, Love and Freedom, 2008)
Check It Out (from Lonesome Jubilee, 1987)
Minutes To Memories (from Scarecrow, 1985)
I Need A Lover (from A Biography, 1978)
Big Daddy Of Them All (from Big Daddy, 1989)
Rain On The Scarecrow (from Scarecrow, 1985)
If I Die Sudden (from Life, Death, Love and Freedom, 2008)
Love and Happiness (from Whenever We Wanted, 1991)
Longest Days (from Life, Death, Love and Freedom, 2008)
Crumblin’ Down (from Uh-Huh, 1983)
Rock In The USA (from Scarecrow, 1985)
Jack and Diane (from American Fool, 1982)
Authority Song (from Uh-Huh, 1983)

Photo by Ros O'Gorman
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