John Mellencamp

Tuesday, June 6th: Weather forecast for the concert is snow/rain showers with the high only 53 and lows in the low 30’s.  We will monitor the situation with the understanding that this is spring time in Oregon and you only have to wait a few minutes and the forecast and weather will have changed.  And don’t forget, weather forecasters are 98% right, 2% of the time.

We discovered John Mellencamp back in the late 80’s when the record companies made him use “Cougar” in his name.  We enjoyed the enthusiasm of his music and the clarity of his voice, so we were looking forward to seeing him in concert.

As a bonus for buying tickets, we received a copy of his latest album, Sad Clowns and Hillbillies.  Over the years, singers voices change; they mature.  Plant and Burdon are good examples of maturing voices.  Then there are those who’s don’t seem to weather change as well.  In our opinion, Mellencamp is an example of a voice not weathering age well.  There’s an unpleasant rasp to Mellencamps’ voice now and it sounds like it is painful for him to sing.  The album also lacks the enthusiasm of old (unlike Jagger) and a much more subdued use of his voice.

Update: Oddly enough, we found this on the web today; from Rolling Stone interview:

Are you ever going to quit smoking?
I’m smoking right now. It’s been great for my voice. My engineer said, “You sound like somebody.” It turned out to be Louis Armstrong. We A-B’d his voice against mine. And I was like, “Fuck, what’s wrong with that?”

What’s wrong with it, is that he doesn’t sound like Louis Armstrong and he no longer sounds like himself.

Monday, June 12, 2017

“It was a dark and stormy night…”(1), but the weather did manage to not rain.

Other than that, the weather never fully cooperated, so we changed our plans.  We cancelled camping at Tumalo State Park (durn) and opted to stay at the Rainbow Motel in Bend after driving up Sunday morning, then return today.  We simply didn’t feel like starting the summer by camping in crummy weather.  It did moderate some and the show was able to go on.  And an interesting show it was.

The drive up to Bend was pleasant as usual; no idiots trying to kill themselves and anyone they could take with them like last time.  We checked in amid some confusion.  The weekend clerk didn’t have our reservations, but we did.  We relaxed for a couple of hours then headed down to Anthony’s for dinner.  We were in no hurry to be first in line in a concert with paid seating in the front.  We got there around six and met some folks and waited for things to do.

First up was Carlene Carter and, yes, that’s a Carter/Cash offspring.  Coming from such a distinguished family, you would expect a high degree of professionalism.  Not.  Wrong cords; wrong lyrics; wrong this; wrong that. And NO playlist; even asking the audience what they wanted to hear.  It was not a performance worthy of someone who should know better.

The second “opener” was Jewel.  She was an unmitigated disaster.  She started off with a 20 minute dissertation about her life and her hardships.  For someone who knew who she was to start with, it was totally unnecessary.  For those of us who came to hear music, it was a pain in the ass.  I kept wanting to yell: “If you want to tell us your life story, do so in song.”  Listening to her ramble was an embarrassment and unwanted.  She also was disrespectful to her audience, even telling someone to sit down.  Weird.

The concert didn’t really start until Mellencamp took the stage and a professional showed how it was done.  Above we said that we weren’t sure about the concert.  The latest album sucked; uninteresting and lacking enthusiasm.  His voice sounded strained and a raspy sound that we didn’t care for.  None of this was present.  Oh, his voice may have been a little raspier, but, it wasn’t unpleasant (live vs studio?).  The enthusiasm was still there.  Odd, but we had the same feeling for Tedeschi Trucks last year.  Their album wasn’t impressive either, but when they took the stage!  And that’s exactly what happen last night.  Mellencamp took the stage and it was powerhouse rock and roll from there.

The band backing Mellencamp is awesome, but finding information about them on his web site was to no avail.  There is none.  Granted it’s his web site and about John Mellencamp, but he’s had the same guitarist for forty years and no mention of him or anyone else.  A little egocentric.

We met a couple of gentlemen from Eugene and had some great conversation.  We hope they get hold of us when the come down to Britt.

All in all, it was a good concert AFTER Mellencamp took the stage.

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