LIVE: John Mellencamp Returns to Syracuse for a SOLD OUT Show at the Landmark Theater

Photos by Chris Besaw

Review by Kelly Besaw

John Mellencamp played a Sold Out show for fans at the Landmark Theater in Syracuse, NY on Wednesday evening. Mellencamp is currently on the road for his “Live and In Person” tour and is releasing his 25th studio album on June 16 titled Orpheus Descending.

The evening started promptly at 8pm with interviews with John mixed in between clips from movies that influenced him and even inspired some of the songs he wrote. He talked about how he could relate to many of the characters played by Marlon Brando, James Dean and Paul Newman. After an approximately twenty-five-minute introduction, the curtain dropped and the band started right into the bluesy jam, “John Cockers” followed by “Paper in Fire.”

The evening was a unique mix of storytelling, old songs, new songs, political commentary, performance art and audience participation. Highlights included stories about a young homeless woman Mellencamp encountered in Portland, his grandmother’s dying words, a spoken word recording of Joanne Woodward, reading The Real Life and an acoustic version of “Jack & Diane” where the audience skipped the second verse and went right into the chorus causing Mellencamp to jokingly remind them that songs have two verses and then the chorus.

I would be remiss not to mention the amazing band that Mellencamp has. Andy York (guitar, backing vocals), Dane Clark (drums, backing vocals), John Gunnell (bass), Troye Kinnett (keyboard, accordion, backing vocals), Lisa Germano (violin) and of course Mike Wanchic (guitar, backing vocals) who has been with Mellencamp since 1976, their flawless playing takes the live performance to a whole new level.

By the time the band played the hit “Crumblin’ Down,” the crowd had loosened up and many were up on their feet dancing and singing along. Mellencamp announced to the fans that they were, “going to end the night with old times.” They ended their set with some of their older more well-known tunes, “Pink Houses,” “Cherry Bomb,” and fan favorite “Hurts So Good.” Overall, it was an incredible performance. I have seen Mellencamp and his amazing band many times, mostly at Farm Aid but also a few times on his own tour and they never disappoint. There are still a few opportunities to catch the “Live and In Person” tour and do not forget to check out the new album, Orpheus Descending.


John Cockers
Paper In Fire
Minutes to Memories
Small Town
Human Wheels
Jackie Brown
Check it Out
The Eyes of Portland (acoustic)
Longest Days (acoustic)
Jack & Diane (acoustic)
The Real Life (Joanne Woodward spoken word)
Rain on the Scarecrow
Lonely Ol’ Night
What if I Came Knocking
Crumblin’ Down/ Gloria
Pink Houses
Cherry Bomb
Hurts So Good



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