The band members left the stage at the conclusion of song number four. Mellencamp grabbed an accoustic guitar and started talking with the crowd. He talked about how “his generation” had failed in doing many of the things they’d set out to do — like legalizing marijuana. Mellencamp then told the crowd the last time he’d smoked was in 1972. Mellencamp next asked the crowd about “The Golden Rule” and after he said, “Do unto others,” the crowd responded with the rest of it. Mellencamp, standing alone on stage with his guitar, then launched into Tough It Out and Be the Best You Can followed by Jesus Can You Give Me a Ride Back Home? and another song about youth and love. The crowd erupted as he started Small Town and sang the lyrics as though Wells Fargo Arena were one of those sing-along piano bars.
It’s at this point Mellencamp gestures and John Edwards walks on stage. After a few cheers boos overtake the hall. “I’ve been in your small towns,” Edwards said as Mellencamp stepped aside to give Edwards a place behind the microphone. “…You didn’t come here to listen to me,” Edwards continues as he winds down with a “thank you,” waves and walks to the darkened edge of the stage.
The crowd is mostly booing at this point. “I came for a concert,” one man behind me yelled. “Refund. Refund,” another chanted a few rows back. One person in the crowd made this observation: “Are they booing Edwards specifically or booing because they don’t like politics?” Mellencamp tells the crowd he’s “had a lot of fun with that guy,” and begins playing his guitar and singing Small Town again. The crowd slowly begins to sing along again. Edwards stood on the darkened edge of the stage until the song was over, then exited. Mellencamp didn’t say anything at the song’s end, and there was a swell of chatter among the audience members.
Yeah, he’s been in our small towns. And his house is larger than several of those small towns put together.