Sault Ste Marie News And Video: Mellencamp Scores A Big Hit In A Small Town

It's a wonder the walls of the Steelback Centre didn't come 'Crumblin Down' last night as John Mellencamp took to the stage to the thrill of over 4,700 fans.

The crowd stood up and cheered when Mellencamp made his first appearance and never sat down for the rest of the evening. They might as well had not sold seats for the concert as almost every member of the audience was up singing, dancing and cheering throughout the two hour offering of driving rock n' roll.

Mellencamp is the ultimate performer, talking and interacting with his audience, bending down to touch the hands of his adoring public and even signing a couple of album covers that a few hopefuls held up near the stage.

Opening with Little Pink Houses, Mellencamp kept up the pace of the concert with some of his most memorial hits such as Paper and Fire, Lonely Old Night, Jack and Diane, and Small Town as well as a few numbers from his new album Life, Death, Love and Freedom.

'Minutes to Memories' and 'If I Die Sudden' are sure to become hits .

( Editors note – the writer meant the new song Young Without Lovers not Minutes to Memories. Young Without Lovers was played right after MtM.)

At one point in the show Mellencamp, a Democrat, told the audience "just one more year and Bush will be gone", which brought on another round of loud cheering, He also spoke of the need for acceptance of others who might be different than ourselves, whether that differance be one of race, status, or beliefs.

Near the end of the concert he had audience members take out their cell phones and call someone they knew so he could say hello to them, from John Mellencamp.

Backed by an amazing five piece band, the performance was electrifying and never once faltered .

Band members included John's guitar player of 30 years, Mike Wanchic, bass player Jon E Gee, Troye Kinnett on keyboards, guitarist Andy York and awe inspiring electric fiddle player Mirriam Sturn.

This has to have been the best rock n' roll show to have ever played the Sault! John Mellencamp is a driving energy force and you'd never know he was almost 57 years old.

And like the song 'Crumblin' Down' says, he's a "real good dancer".

His encore performance of Authority Song worked the crowd into a musical frenzy and still they cheered for more.

It's no wonder that Mellencamp has such a large fan base. His talent, musicianship, and ability to speak from the heart on matters of social importance, all combine to make him one of rock n' roll's most dearly cherished icons.

Any band coming to play at the Steelback in the future will have to come up with something truly spectacular to come even close to what Saultites experienced last night.

It was truly one of those times when anyone who was there will always remember as one of the ultimate musical experiences, ever.

Read the SooNews article and view a photo slide show online.