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John Mellencamp and John Fogerty Concert Review
John Mellencamp / John Fogerty
Marcus Amphitheater (Summerfest)
Milwaukee, WI

by: John Paulsen

Paulsen Home / Music Home / Entertainment Channel / Entertainment Web Guide

ALSO! Check out John's recap of Summerfest and more reviews from the event:

Steve Winwood
Tom Petty and The Black Crowes
Weezer and Pixies

On the surface, it seems like an odd pairing. The Indiana-born John Mellencamp and the California-born and Bayou-obsessed John Fogerty are out on tour together, with the latter opening for the former. I say it's an odd pairing not because the duo's music doesn't go together, but because it's surprising that each performer has been able to put his own ego aside and appear on a bill with another legend in the business. Fogerty has to agree to be an opening act, which is no small feat given his notoriety as the former frontman of Creedence Clearwater Revival. And Mellencamp has to appear every night with the pressure to outperform Fogerty as he probably doesn't want his tour to be one of the rare ones where the opening act turns out to be more entertaining than the headliner. So it was with these issues in mind that I headed to the Marcus Ampitheater to witness these two legends on the opening night of Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI.

After singer/songwriter Stoll Vaughan -- the true opening act -- played for 20 minutes, Fogerty took the stage and performed a hefty 20-song set, starting with "Travelin' Band." This song was punctuated with one of the best crowd moments of the night -- a father returning from the concession stand with a beer for himself and a Sharps (non-alcoholic brew) for his teenage kid. It was at this moment that I fully realized that I was back in Brew City, USA. This controversial parenting aside, Fogerty's set list was hit-laden, covering his biggest CCR songs ("Looking Out My Back Door" "Who'll Stop the Rain," "Up Around the Bend," "Hey Tonight") as well as his solo hits ("Centerfield," "Old Man Down the Road"). The crowd seemed to especially appreciate "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," "Down on the Corner" and "Fortunate Son." "Son" was played at such a quick pace that most of the crowd didn't recognize it until the first lyrics were sung. After his main set, Fogerty returned for a two-song encore consisting of the CCR hits "Bad Moon Rising" and "Proud Mary." Overall, he put on a good show and was energetic and enthusiastic -- especially for a 60 year old.

After a short stage change, Mellencamp began his set with one of his very best songs, "Small Town," which worked the crowd into a frenzy. After a couple of less than spectacular numbers, he played "Lonely Ol' Night" before bringing Fogerty out to join him for a couple of acoustic songs, CCR's "Green River" and Mellencamp's "Rain on the Scarecrow." Mellencamp then subjected the crowd to his dreary new tune, "Walk Tall," before ending the first half of the set with "Paper in Fire." The band left the stage for a few minutes while a video montage encapsulated the singer's career. They returned for a strong second half, laying out "I Need a Lover" and "The Authority Song" before moving into the most Mellencamp of Mellencamp songs, "Jack and Diane." Unfortunately, he let (or the crowd insisted that) the crowd do most of the singing so I ended up hearing the drunk guy next to me sing more than Mellencamp himself. The strong string of songs continued with "Crumblin' Down," "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." and "Hurts So Good" (the first verse of which was curiously sung by the accordion player). The band then played my favorite Mellencamp tune, "Pink Houses," before playing a song that they "haven't played in years," the minor hit "Ain't Even Done With the Night." "Houses" would have been a much better closer, but it's hard to nitpick Mellencamp -- he usually gives you your money's worth.

Send any questions, comments or wine stories to jpaulsen@bullz-eye.com




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