What was a scheduling loss for the Halifax Metro Centre turned out to be a Dartmouth gain as Mellencamp kicked off his two-show stop in our region for his No Better Than This tour.
Ending their set, openers Cowboy Junkies braced the crowd for “a great show – it’s loud and it’s rock and roll!”
The lights dimmed for Mellencamp, a simple backdrop rose from behind a stage that housed an impressive mini orchestra that included a stand up bass and an antique flat back piano.
Given the decades where Mellencamp was at his peak, the packed house included those who remember the good ol’ days and those who were born during them.
The show kicked off with Authority Song.
After the first few bars, Mellencamp took a beat. Dressed in a casual tuxedo, worn with the Mellencamp “damn the man” swagger and attitude, he stood centre stage and was welcomed by his applauding public.
From the floor, through the stadium, to the standing-room-only crowd that swayed in a circle around the arena, Mellencamp’s lyrics filled the room.
Warming up, next came No One Cares About Me off his latest album, No Better Than This.
“Good evening, I’m John Mellencamp. We came 758,000 miles to see you tonight,” the legendary rocker told the crowd. “We’ll be playing a whole bunch of songs tonight – some songs you know, some you don’t. We’ll take a minute to play an old favorite.”
Jack and Diane and Check it Out then rang out.
The tone shifted when Mellencamp spoke about his grandmother and how “life is short” breaking into Longest Days from the album Life, Death, Love and Freedom.
The mood was later lightened with Small Town and Paper in Fire with an arena filled of back-up singers chanting along.
Overall, Mellencamp performed for about two hours, giving his first group of HRM fans a night to remember.