John Mellencamp’s No Better Than This Tour launched this weekend with two consecutive performance dates at Indiana University Auditorium in Bloomington, Indiana near the artist’s home base. The shows was preceded by a showing of It’s About You, a film by Kurt and Ian Markus that chronicles Mellencamp’s 2008 tour with Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan and the recording sessions in Savannah, Memphis and San Antonio that are the source of the critically lauded No Better Than This album, produced by T Bone Burnett. Since the tour launched this past Friday, several additional dates (second shows in San Francisco, Edmonton and Regina on the heels of the addition of second shows in Toronto and New York) have been added to the No Better Than This Tour itinerary. Scroll down complete listing of dates as of this writing.
Using various configurations ranging from solo acoustic to full-tilt electric band, Mellencamp and company tackled 26 songs over the course of two hours and fifteen minutes. Some of John’s best known songs have been "re-imagined" this time around and the show includes a significant number of songs from the current album as well as some older pieces of John’s repertoire, not heard performed in concert for some time. Something else to note: John plays guitar much more than on previous tours, a situation he made light of in a comment to the first night audience along the lines of "I’ve never played guitar in a show as much as this," joking that he’s long suspected the sound crew of lowering the volume on his guitar in the past.