Brisbane's Rave Magazine: Brisbane Entertainment Centre Show Review

John Mellencamp / Sheryl Crow / Shane Nicholson – BEC - Tue Nov 25
By Denis Semchenko

Boondall is a pain to get to but tonight’s double serve of heartland rock is totally worth crossing the Gateway Bridge and overpriced parking. Shane Nicholson’s early slot means I miss him, taking my seat to the shuffle of Sheryl Crow’s first smash All I Wanna Do. Back by super-tight eight –piece band, the ‘90s FM diva turns in a stellar performance, playing (nearly) all the hits and revisiting Cat Stevens’ First Cut Is The Deepest and Crowded House’s Mean To Me. Sheryl’s pipes are in great nick – Strong Enough and If It Makes You Happy are sublime – and the 10,000-strong crowd roars its approval.

Greeted by deafening cheers, John Mellencamp commands the packed BEC the moment he walks on. The US rock legend is still the consummate storyteller, pumping out ‘80s hits Pink Houses, Rock In The U.S.A, My Sweet Love [duet with Sheryl Crow) and Crumblin’ Down along with folky tracks from recent album Life, Death, Love And Freedom. The solo sequence of I Need A Lover, Minutes To Memories and Longest Days is gripping and a stripped-down rendition of Small Town, with Miriam Sturm’s swirling violin to the fore, takes an old song to another dimension. Getting up on its feet, the crowd sings along to the perennial Jack And Diane with gospel fervor; overplayed barroom anthem Hurts So Good is skipped but John Cougar and the crew bring BEC down some more with the barnstorming encore of Lonely Ol’ Night and Authority Song, with John’s “tryout” son on scorching lead guitar. Authority always wins!