No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Just memories for you now…

March 19, 2015

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Just memories for you now…

Growing up in Indiana, I was subjected to an almost constant barrage of the music of John Mellencamp. From his earliest incarnation as Johnny Cougar through his time as John Cougar Mellencamp to his current simply John Mellencamp phase, he was a constant part of the soundtrack of my life (and any Hoosier’s life). I never minded, in fact I always was a fan. I can’t even count the countless times that I have seen him perform live.

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From his humble beginnings, I recall and earlier Johhny Cougar show at a place called Muggins at 54th and College (currently the Jazz Kitchen) through his early success and shows at the Vogue, Market Square Arena, the Indiana Fairgrounds and more. I remember he played a five night set at MSA during the Scarecrow tour in 1985 and I attended every show. I have attended three Farm Aid shows where he was a co-headliner with Neil Young and Willie Nelson.

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I have even attended his very first art exhibition at the Indianapolis Arts Center in Broad Ripple where he first displayed his own artwork in public. I have been to other band’s shows where he joined the band on stage to perform a couple of times and I have seen him at the mall and at more than a few IU basketball games.

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Since moving to Key West 23 years ago, I have remained a fan and continued to go see his shows when I got the chance, which is a lot less often than it once was, but I still enjoy it. So when tickets went on sale for his current Plain Spoken tour at the intimate Broward Center for the Performing Arts I had to get VIP tickets.

John Mellencamp- “Pink Houses”

The Broward Center is a smaller venue with excellent acoustics that is most often used for touring Broadway shows and it is somewhat rare to see a performer of Mellencamp’s caliber in such a place. It is very similar to Clowes Hall in Indianapolis in that it is a great space with perfect acoustics and excellent sight lines from just about anywhere. 

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Opening the show was a member of an American Music Royal family, Carlene Carter of the famous Carter Family Singers. She was fantastic, golden voiced and an amazing singer and performer. Rarely does an opening act captivate the audience the way she did, it was a wonderful and pleasant surprise.

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Mellencamp played a 22 song set that was remarkable in its breadth and diversity. Not settling for a greatest hits show, though plenty of hits were included. Mellencamp and his band delivered a show that provided ample evidence of his place in American music history. His newest songs hold up with his most famous and popular hits and his place as the voice of the American Heartland not only seems secure, but somehow it does not do justice to his amazing catalog of music.

“Cherry Bomb”

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Monday, March 30, 2015

By the Rising of the Moon

March 18, 2015

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By the Rising of the Moon

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St. Patrick’s Day, Spring Break, these rites of the spring party season are big deals on South Florida. Spring Break is the annual flood of college students who head to the south in search of sun, booze and some wild times to let off some steam before heading in to the home stretch of the school year. It has been many a moon since I myself was on spring break, but I have not developed in to one of those old curmudgeons who despises everything about it.

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It is just another part of living in a place that attracts spring breakers and while they can get somewhat annoying, they are hardly alone in that respect and at least they have the excuse of being young and foolish on their side, unlike many annoying vacationers who should probably know better.

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While I have managed to mostly avoid Spring Break in Key West, limiting going out, certainly downtown, I did find myself right in the midst of a Spring Break/St. Patrick’s Day party in Ft. Lauderdale where in a single evening I got my fill of both. I drove up to Miami/ Lauderdale to attend a John Mellencamp concert that just happened to fall on St’Patrick’s day right in the heart of the Lauderdale party zone.

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On the trip up, I took a detour to the Wynwood section of Miami where I checked out many of the amazing murals that cover most of the buildings in the area and to visit a brand new brewery, J. Wakefield Brewing which is right in the heart of the booming arts district. I loved the brewery which had an arty geek vibe with Star Wars imagery covering their walls and yummy beer from the brewery.

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Then it was on to the arts district of Lauderdale which was in prime Spring Break/ St. Paddy’s mode. They had the streets blocked off for a huge block party with literally thousands of green clad revelers that included both visiting Spring Breakers and a large contingent of local partiers as well to take in the fun. I happened to be wearing a Purdue basketball shirt and it soon became obvious that Purdue was among the schools that was on break as students kept commenting on my shirt and asking me if and when I attended. Back in the dark ages I would reply. Ha.

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Still it was a fun evening and I even drank some green beer, which was of course just dyed Bud Light which reminded me why I enjoy craft beer so much. I felt sorry for those poor college kids who could only afford to drink that swill. 

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