Mellencamp Brought “Small Town” to Utica

 

carlene-carter-cash-3The Stanley Center for the Arts did it again with a nearly sold out show that featured Carlene Carter who opened up for one of the biggest legends of music – John Mellencamp. Carlene a third generation singer – daughter of the legendary June Carter and step daughter of Johnny Cash; entered the stage to a warm welcoming crowd. She commanded the stage with her acoustic solo show while telling different stories about the history of her music. Her mother June gave her some great advice “You look good, sound good but you need to write a song.” And, that is where her career took off; she wrote the song “Every Little Thing.” She also came up with several different songs based off of her failed marriages that she went through and said “I need to quit doing that at some point.” Her mother was married to Johnny Cash when she was 12 years old which got her real close to many of the country greats in the industry. Between all the sisters in the Carter family they were involved in over 2,500 songs. Carlene had no problem keeping her fans clapping and had them up on their feet. During her performance she mainly played the guitar with a few moments on the piano. Carter was very talkative with the crowd explaining how she basically travels out of a tiny suitcase and even joked about how she was involved with a man in music who wore a cowboy hat. Her top notch performance entertained a packed house getting the fans excited for Mr. Mellencamp.

Her set list consisted of: Every Little Thing, Easy From Now On, My Dixie Darlin’, Little Black Train, Black Jack David, Troublesome Waters, Baby Ride Easy, Lonesome Valley 2003,The Bitter End, Wildwood Flower, The Storms Are On the Ocean and Forty Shades of Green.

John Mellencamp made his way to the stage with his six other members of his band to a fired up group of fans. All you could hear were screams, whistles, even though cell phones weren’t allowed several in attendance still used them to capture their shots of John and his band. John didn’t have too many fans sitting for most of the show, and if they did they still danced in their seats. Mellencamp played a mixture of songs that we all know and love mixed with some that were not as familiar. In true rock star fashion he got on stage and broke out into full blown dance with his band right on cue.

Mellancamp showed a glimpse into his life with the background of the song “Longest Days.” He talked about how his Grandmother lived to 100 and how she was still thriving at the age of 99 with her calling him “Buddy” and telling him she was going home soon and that he needed to come home. He would lay in bed with her and talk and pray with his Grandmother’s encouragement. She started out the prayer as a normal prayer with her voice getting louder saying she was ready to go home. John said “I wasn’t ready, he wasn’t done sinning yet.” Granny said “You know John life is short even on the longest of days” and that is when he started to sing.

Joking with the fans Mellencamp said “I’m not sure why I do this song anymore but you guys like it “Jack & Diane.” Every fan started to sing along until he said “hold up, hold up (the music stopped) as he said laughing you guys skipped a verse.” With the fans help he didn’t need the rest of the band – he went solo.

Miss Carter was brought back out to sing a couple of duets with Mr. Mellencamp. They have a new record coming out in 2017. If you missed this concert which included some of the greats from back in the era of when music was really getting underway, you missed a good one! John and Carlene still perform just as they did years ago. Many fans toward the end of the show made their way down the aisle to get a closer look of Mellencamp in between the cheers, yells and screams.

His set list consisted of:  Lawless Times, Troubled Man, Minutes to Memories, Small Town, Stones in My Passway, Pop Singer, The Isolation of Mister, Check It Out, Longest Days, Jack & Diane, The Full Catastrophe, My Soul’s Got Wings and Crumblin’ Down.

 

 

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Roger Johnston / The Fuze Magazine
Mario Lomedico / Picture This Photography / The Fuze Magazine

 

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