Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

In a Trip Down Memory Lane, John Mellencamp Sticks to Greatest Hits Mellencamp & Co. Take Show to 'Little Houses'

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

In a Trip Down Memory Lane, John Mellencamp Sticks to Greatest Hits Mellencamp & Co. Take Show to 'Little Houses'

Article excerpt

Nowadays, as the artists get bigger, the venues seem to get smaller and smaller.

At least this is the case with John Mellencamp. No longer known as Johnny Cougar, the singer who made a career out of touring arenas in the 1970s and '80s is performing in theaters for the first time.

His brief but busy "Mr. Happy Go Lucky" tour of seven cities - which began March 3 in his hometown of Bloomington, Ind., and ends April 28 in Chicago - was a quick sellout. Extra dates had to be added in Boston, New York, Indianapolis, and Chicago to accommodate ticket demand. In most cities, he is performing five nights in a row. As fans discovered, though, intimacy has a price. Tickets started at $46 and rose to $102 for the front sections. But the high cost didn't stop devotees from attending. And they definitely got their money's worth. On stage in Boston, Mellencamp rocked the house for 90 minutes straight, and his fans couldn't have been happier. Unlike other longtime performers whose playlists concentrate on new material, Mellencamp stuck to his greatest hits, including "Hurts So Good," "Jack and Diane," and "Pink Houses." He did so even though his latest album, "Mr. Happy Go Lucky" - his 14th album to date - has received some of the best reviews of his career. Mellencamp hit it big in 1982 with "American Fool." He sang simple, small-town lyrics to rhythm-guitar-heavy rock. On his more recent works, however (such as "Human Wheels" in 1993), his lyrics have turned more melancholy - painting a darker portrait of America. Mellencamp, however, said before his tour that he understands why fans would be insulted if he didn't play his older songs. "It'd be OK if you weren't charging," he said in an interview for the Hartford Courant. "You can go up there and do whatever you want. But I don't think it's all about me. It's about the fans. …

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