Artist: John Mellencamp
Album: Performs Trouble No More Live At Town Hall
Label: Mercury Records
Release Date: 07/08/2014
When John Mellencamp growls “I don’t want to die” during “Down in the Bottom,” you might just believe he never will.
Performing songs from his 2003 covers album Trouble No More as well as a few old favorites, Mellencamp soars with an indefatigable spirit throughout his whole set at Town Hall. Whether he’s telling the tale of “Johnny Hart” or jamming out with “Diamond Joe,” there’s something to be said for Mellencamp’s ability to keep an audience engaged.
There is almost no banter in between songs, which allows for seamless transitions and an eerie, narrative-like structure. It’s also easy to hear which of the songs were the audience’s (and Mellencamp’s) favorites: the Dylan classic “Highway 61 Revisited” and a haunting rendition of Mellencamp’s own “Small Town.” The set is paced well: the listeners can never sink too deep into a slower melody, as Mellencamp will wake them right up with another showstopper.
With this album, Mellencamp proves the timelessness of Trouble No More and the rest of his impressive catalogue. The set appropriately ends with “Pink Houses,” in which I’m sure the audience would have leapt to their feet if they weren’t already standing.
– Rachel Weiss