John Mellencamp “Plain Spoken” in Kansas City

It was a cold night in Kansas City, but things were plenty hot inside the Midland. Maybe it was John Mellencamp, maybe love was in the air (it WAS February 14th), or maybe someone turned the thermostat up a little too high. Either way, by the end of the night, everyone was on their feet, and beer was flowing plenty.

Touring the country in support of his 22nd studio album, “Plain Spoken,” John promised to play a mix of the old and the new, “Some you know, some you don’t, some you can sing to, and some you can dance to.” And that he did, performing classics like Small Town,  and Pink Houses, with a healthy mix of new material from Soft Spoken, and a twist on some older material, there was something for everyone in his show.

Shortly after taking the stage, and starting to sing, it was clear that John wasn’t in top form. Later, he apologized for his voice, confessing that there were talks of cancelling the performance so he could rest; but, as they say, the show must go on, and it certainly did. Though his voice was a little raspier than usual, John didn’t hold back, and he threw everything that he had into his performance; I’m surprised he had anything left after that.

Some of his songs received an extra treatment during the show. “The Full Catastrophe,” off of his 1996 album “Mr. Happy Go Lucky,” for instance, was simplified musically, with only a piano for accompaniment, which really drew focus in on the lyrics and allowed John to give a more soulful performance of it than on the record; this version would be well at home in a smoky blues club.

John Mellencamp would later bring Carlene Carter, daughter of June Carter, onstage for a couple of songs. Carlene is opening for John on this tour, so it wasn’t completely unexpected. After some talk about the musical that John on which he is collaborating with Stephen King, together they performed, “Away from this World”, and “Tear this Cabin Down.”

With a set that covered 21 songs in a little under 2 hours, John and his six member band delivered the kind of performance that we all love to see, and one that brought, and kept, the sold out house on their feet for the duration of the show.

John is currently on an 80 city tour in promotion of his Plain Spoken album. For tour dates, please visit

Purchase Plain Spoken on Amazon.

Set list:

  1. Lawless Times
  2. Troubled Man
  3. Minutes to Memories
  4. Small Town
  5. Stones in My Passway
  6. Human Wheels
  7. The Isolation of Mister
  8. Check it Out
  9. Longest Days
  10. Jack and Diane
  11. Full Catastrophe of Life
  12. Away from the World
  13. Tear this Cabin Down
  14. Overture
  15. Scarecrow
  16. Paper in the Fire
  17. If I Die Sudden
  18. Crumbling Down
  19. Authority
  20. Pink Houses
  21. Cherry Bomb

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