Last night Kevin and I went to see John Mellencamp in concert at the Forum. It was an incredible show. Exciting, energetic- and
John split his show up into two parts. He came out on stage singing Love and Happiness from "Whenever We Wanted". He went straight into Paper
and Fire from "The Lonesome Jubilee", Lonely Ol' Night from "Scarecrow" and Jack and Diane from "American Fool". He sang Again Tonight and Get a Leg Up, which really shook the crowd. He rounded out the first half with Martha Says, Pop Singer and Jackie Brown from "Big Daddy". He sang Jackie Brown alone, without his band. It was just him and his classical guitar, and occasionally the fiddler would play.
The first part was full of energy, but not like the second half. We were surrounded by
people much older than we were, except at the back, where there were two twenty-odd year olds. They were ready to go, and would start dancing when just about every song began. But nobody would follow them, so they would sit down. Occasionally I would also stand, but sit after a while.
During the second half, there was no stopping me. I stood and stayed standing throughout the rest of the night. If the people behind me wanted to see, they would have to stand as well. They did. So did the rest of the Forum. We clapped and cheered and danced like he commanded us to do.
He banged it all off with Play Guitar from "Uh-Huh", and that started us. The crowd wouldn't be calmed from then. He recalled the first time he was in this "town", playing to seven people in some club. Then he played Small Town. He invited us to the Farm-Aid concert on Sunday down south, telling us of their desperate plight, and then played Rain on the Scarecrow. He sang Minutes to Memories, Check it Out, The Real Life, Crumblin' Down, and then bombed into R.O.C.K. in the USA, at which point a kid jumped up on stage and shook his hand. Mellencamp gave him the microphone and the kid started singing the last, repeated chorus. Wow! Incredible.
Rumbleseat kept everybody going strong, as did Authority Song, Hurts So Good and Pink Houses. Everybody's hands were in the air as
he asked for in the first line of Now More than Ever.
He encored with the lights on with Cherry Bomb- a great song to end with.
He's such an entertainer. He would dance as if he was playing the guitar when all he had in his hands was a mic. He jumped onto another guitarist's shoulders during another song. When Play Guitar was playing, his dancers took the middle of the stage and made feral moves- many of them, while John danced with another of them, close.
He had us singing "Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone" over and over again at the end of Jack and Diane. We were singing "Check it out!" during that song, and a string of "No-o-o"s in Authority Song. We could be heard singing during every other song as well.
When he first appeared on stage, he grabbed the mic, and the crowd went wild. He stood back, paced around the stage a bit, and then sat down on the drummer's stage, while we cheered. He couldn't get a word in edgewise. When he did finally say "Hi-" there was an uproar life you wouldn't believe. Through the concert he experienced this many times. Every time he stopped singing to talk, he would be drowned out. When he stopped between sentences as he finally began talking, he had trouble beginning again.
He is just an incredible entertainer. The backdrop was a painting- one of his, I presume. The stage was south-western American
red farm . And it was small, so much so that there were seats on three sides of the stage. He had patio lights hanging from the ceiling, strung up to the rafters.
His last visit to Montreal was in 1988 on The Lonesome Jubilee Tour. I went to that one as well, but the seats were not as good that time. Even though I was in the blues, I was just on the side of the stage. The best vantage point. When I went to get the tickets, on the second day, all the floor, reds and whites of the forum were sold out- completely. So popular. So basic. And so