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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

John Mellencamp @ Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

It would be nearly impossible to top the second time I saw John Mellencamp, at which I was invited to take the security guard's spot--right at the front of the stage. Praise Be to The Concert God: Dylan & Mellencamp @ The Edgefield Still, that was a hard-won privilege, I looked forward to the intimate Schmitzer, and I thought that surely it would be a different experience than the sprawling lawn of Edgefield.

And in some ways it was. Mellencamp's show is every bit as loud as you'd expect. Now, imagine the loudness of an arena show inside a 3,000-seat venue. My shirt was vibrating. The aspect that remained the same as with the Edgefield show was totally unexpected: People stood the entire time. I was shocked, I figured this Schnitzer date would attract every Mellencamp fan too faint of heart to brave the General-Admission, Standing-Room Only Edgefield throngs. In short, I thought they'd be grateful for their seats.

I squeezed myself into the aisle, and could see pretty well from there. Mellencamp is an artist who doesn't mind playing his Greatest Hits, like "Pink Houses" "Small Town" and "Jack and Diane" (the latter was a tune notably absent from both nights of his Edgefield show. Still absent was "Hurts So Good", a composition which was the favorite of an irate drunk woman who did not appreciate that it was not included in his Edgefield setlist. )  That said,  Mellencamp did manage to include lesser-known songs from his catalogue, such as selections from his stage-musical collaboration with Stephen King.

Despite the standing issue, I found the Schnitzer to be an elegant venue for the show, all's well that ends well.

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