Digital Journal: John Mellencamp Spectacular At The Beacon Theatre In New York Show A + Review

Digital Journal - By Markos Papadatos
There was no opening act on this tour, and this marked his second out of three consecutive shows at New York's Beacon Theatre.

The concert began with a video presentation about Mellencamp's journey and how he came from humble beginnings in Indiana. This clip underscored that his motivations derive from his ability to create, whether it is on canvas as a painter, or with his music.

Backed by a six-piece band, Mellencamp opened his set with "Lawless Times," which earned a raucous response from the New York audience. The veteran rocker immediately broke into "Troubled Land" and "Minutes to Memories," which had a neat groove to it.

It was followed by his infectious rock standard "Small Town," where he got everybody on their feet clapping along, prior to covering the haunting "Stones in My Passway," which is featured on his latest album, Other People's Stuff. The former tune earned him a standing ovation. "Thank you very much. I'm John Mellencamp," he said, as if he needed an introduction. He revealed that this show featured his hits, as well as new songs, and songs that people can dance to.

Other noteworthy tunes were the fiddle-driven "We Are the People,' "Lonely Ol' Night" and "Check It Out" with its catchy hooks. Mellencamp also dusted off Louis Armstrong's jazz standard "Long Gone (From the Bowlin' Green)," and made it his own. His storytelling ability was evident throughout the evening.

Equally compelling was his acoustic version of "Longest Days," where he captured the emotional core of the lyrics. He shared the story behind the song, "Longest Days," which was inspired by his grandmother, who lived up until the age of 100. She would call him "buddy," and during this performance, he was able to silence the venue. Mellencamp acknowledged that he felt the presence of his grandmother with him in the theater.

One of the greatest musical moments of the evening was when he performed his signature tune, "Jack & Diane," solo, and in an acoustic, stripped-down fashion, which earned him yet another standing ovation.

He continued with the piano-driven and unapologetic "The Full Catastrophe" and "Easy Target," the latter of which was from his critically-acclaimed Sad Clowns & Hillbillies album, which came out in the spring of 2017.

Mellencamp also had the audience singing along with him on "Rain on the Scarecrow" and they stayed on their feet for "Paper in Fire."

Of course, no John Mellencamp concert is complete without Top 10 single "Crumblin' Down," the vivacious "Authority Song," where green lights graced the stage, and "Pink Houses," which are bound to stand the test of time.

"Thank you very much," he said, effusively, and introduced his talented band members, which included the marvelous Miriam Sturm on fiddle. Mellencamp concluded his show with "Cherry Bomb," and a reprise of "Long Gone (From the Bowlin' Green)," where he left his fans wanting to hear more.

The VerdictOverall, John Mellencamp was able to delight with an impressive and eclectic set at Beacon Theatre thanks to his rich, raspy vocals.

The New York audience knew that they were in the presence of musical presence. There is a rawness and authenticity to Mellencamp's music, and he is one true badass performer. It is evident that this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer only gets better with age and experience. His set at the Beacon Theatre earned an A+ rating.

To learn more about John Mellencamp's upcoming tour dates, check out his official website.