Brisbane, AU's -The Courier Mail: Rock Keeps On Rolling

Rock Keeps On Rolling
John Mellencamp, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Reviewer: Noel Mengel

The three singer-songwriters on the bill certainly have a common theme: triumph out of adversity.

Opening act Shane Nicholson, next-on-stage Sheryl Crow and headliner Mellencamp all have had to battle for respect and to pursue their careers on their own terms.

But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and also gives you plenty to write about. “Sisyphus, that’s me, I’m the guy always, rolling the rock back up the hill,” Mellencamp said before undertaking his first Australian tour in 15 years. Still, it’s easier to roll that rock when you have as many hits in the bank as Mellencamp does. Even though he’s been absent from our shores for so long, he took the stage looking much the same as he always has. Although he’s now 57.

The songs are well-preserved too, with the near sell-out audience getting straight to their feet as soon as they heard the familiar strains of songs such as Pink Houses, Paper In Fire and Check It Out.

Crow played an enthusiastic support set, featuring favourites such as If It Makes You Happy, and a cover of Crowded House’s Mean To Me. She was hampered by a boomy mix, but those problems, were sorted for the main attraction.

Mellencamp’s set was sprinkled with his smalltown anthems such as Rain On The Scarecrow, Jack & Diane, and Small Town.

He was supported by a crack band which included the fiddle and accordion sounds which were an essential part of his big songs.

During his opening set of the night, Nicholson played to his largest Brisbane audience only a few kilometers from his Redcliffe hometown.

He’s got a big voice and songs that sounds great on the big stage. Expect him to be moving up higher on the bill very soon.