Seneca Niagara Events Center
Niagara Falls, NY
Saturday October 22, 2016
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto
Saturday evening John Mellencamp returned to the Seneca Niagara Events Center. Having last played the venue in 2014, Mellencamp gave the crowd a show they won’t soon forget despite playing a short 70-minute set.
Things got off to quite an inauspicious start as halfway through the first song Mellencamp became agitated and stopped the show. He was upset with how many people were taking photos after he stated they were asked nicely not to prior to the show. After a brief scolding of the crowd he immediately jumped into “Small Town”. Later on he gave an apology as he explained he had the flu and almost had to cancel the show but chose not to. “Old people tend to get cranky” he said.
“I don’t know why I still play this next song” he quipped as he broke into the little ditty known as “Jack & Diane”, which remains his only chart topper to date. The song was performed with just Mellencamp, his acoustic guitar and the crowd singing along.
The crowd was content to this point at sitting and enjoying the music. It wasn’t until a blistering, thunderous version of “Crumblin’ Down” where that all seemed to change. The crowd got out of their seats and came to life. Continuing on with “Authority Song” kept things on the upswing and Mellencamp never looked back.
The biggest surprise of the night came with a rare play of “Hurts So Good”. The song has only been performed a smattering of times over the past six years. I’m not sure why the song that helped break his career is seldom played much anymore. He clearly enjoyed performing it judging from the smile on his face and the zest with which he performed it. The song was the catalyst in propelling American Fool to the top of the charts. Although he has enjoyed great chart success throughout his career, American Fool remains his lone number one album.
As he introduced his fabulous band he talked about how everyone loves to talk about old times which led to the nostalgic “Cherry Bomb” appropriately ending the evening.
This was the second time Mellencamp has brought his Plain Spoken tour to the area. He played Shea’s PAC last year and delivered an expansive set. The set list Saturday night was essentially an edited version focusing mostly on the hits. Although he played an abbreviated set he still managed to send everyone home happy.
Check It Out
Jack & Diane
Rain On The Scarecrow
Paper In Fire
Authority Song/Land of 1000 Dances
Hurts So Good
Mike Wanchic – guitars, backing vocals
Andy York – guitars, backing vocals
Miriam Sturm – violin
Dane Clark – drums, backing vocals
John Gunnell – bass
Troye Kinnett – keyboards, accordion, backing vocals