Carlene Carter first took the stage at 7:30 and delivered a 35-minute set which proved a perfect complement to Mellencamp’s impending performance. Carter easily chatted the audience and spoke of her childhood and ancestry. She lovingly explained how ”Lonesome Valley 2003” stemmed from the loss of her mother June Carter Cash.
John Mellencamp took to the stage at 8:30 and performed a full 21-song set comprised of old fan favorites and new material. He began with “Lawless Times” off of his newest album and by the time he reached “Check It Out,” the entire hall was on their feet singing and dancing. At several moments during the evening, female fans shouted out “We Love You John!”
He comfortably spoke between songs, alternating between humor and sincerity. One particularly poignant moment occurred as he described how ‘Longest Days” was written specifically about his beloved grandmother, the chorus coming from some of the last words she spoke upon her deathbed.
The progression of energy in his chosen set list was perfect. John played solo for the much anticipated “Jack and Diane”. As he hit the first downstroked chord, the audience again leapt to their feet, eagerly singing along. They were so eager in fact, that John laughed and stopped as the audience started the chorus. With a twinkle in his eye he patiently explained that it was not yet time. There was still another verse. The energy was so great that Mellencamp didn’t need to utter one note of the chorus; Austin fans had it all under control.
John Mellencamp has definitely evolved both vocally and musically since his “Cougar” days but I dare say that his songwriting talent and command of the stage has simply grown and gotten better over the years. He infused each song and performance with just the right amount of theatrics and soul (and he still has those ripped and toned guns and gravelly vocals!).
John Mellencamp's Austin Set List:
1. Lawless Times
2. Troubled Man
3. Minutes to Memories
4. Small Town
5. Stones in My Passway (Robert Johnson cover)
6. Human Wheels
7. The Isolation of Mister
8. Check It Out
9. Longest Days
10. Jack and Diane (solo acoustic)
11. The Full Catastrophe
12. Away From This World (with Carlene Carter)
13. Tear This Cabin Down (with Carlene Carter)
14. New Hymn
15. Rain on the Scarecrow
16. Paper in Fire
17. If I Die Sudden
18. Crumblin' Down
19. Authority Song / Land of 1000 Dances
20. Pink Houses
21. Cherry Bomb
Carlene Carter's Austin Set List:
1 Every Little Thing
2. Easy From Now On
3. Little Black Train
4. Black Jack David
5. Lonesome Valley 2003
6. My Dixie Darlin'
7. The Storms Are On the Ocean
8. Me And The Wildwood Rose