Photos and review by Brian Underhill
John Mellencamp is a rock Icon with amazing songs like Pink Houses, Jack and Diane, Small Town, and Authority Song. Decades of hits and an induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame are just a couple of many accomplishments in his career. This past weekend he invaded Minnesota for three nights of rock at the historic State Theater in Minneapolis. Night one of three was just the beginning of what would be an amazing string of shows! As soon as the doors opened, the sold-out crowd filtered in with excitement to see what the night would bring. The sound of air raid sirens and red swirling lights with the darkness of the theater gave the effect of being in the Midwest during storms and power outages. Being from the Midwest, we are all too familiar with this. Instead of the typical opening act, John Mellencamp’s performance began with a 30-minute video highlighting short films and movie clips. The films showcased some of John’s favorite movies and even included some of the movie clips that he was in. The film clips were personally narrated by John to share how these films influenced him as a musician and as an artist. These clips tell a story depicting films from the late 1940s through the early 1960s. With the video ending, the screen being raised, lights coming on, and the crowd filling with anticipation, we get a first glimpse of the stage. The stage was decorated in what looked like
old blue-collar working 50’s and 60’s era design, with spotlights and items from movie scenes adorning the grand design. This gave an intimate feel and displayed the meaningfulness of his roots and values. The sound of small-town heartland rock started. The opening song of the night was John Cockers from the album Life Death Love and Freedom, with the crowd gleaning with excitement over the show finally starting. John then moved onto Paper in Fire from the album Lonesome Jubilee. The hits kept rolling with Minutes to Memories, followed by many other of the great songs we grew up listening to. With the southern rock and roll and signature Mellencamp sound, the show was a fantastic success and rocked the night away. The crowd stood on their feet through the entire night, clapping and swaying away. It seems that even after 50 years in the music industry, the energy continues to ooze from him. With night one in the books, Mellencamp continued on with two more nights of fantastic music. This show was only just the beginning of a months-long US tour. Be sure to go see Mellencamp if he comes to a city near you, and be ready to rock!
Check out more photos from the show here!
Not only is he an iconic musician, John Mellencamp is also an artist. He began painting in the 1980s as his musical career was taking off. Of course, like many concerts, other merch was also for sale. However, unlike most concerts, pieces of the musician’s artwork were for sale - a few of Mellencamp’s paintings and lithographs were included with the merch. If you are unable to go to a concert, several of his paintings are also available to view and purchase on his website at www.mellencamp.com.