NFL kick-off with John Mellencamp, Kelly Clarkson, Hinder, Faith Hill 

RCA Dome, Monument Circle
Thursday, Sept. 6

A vast sea of Peyton Manning jerseys filled the crossroads by Monument Circle Sept. 6. As I suffered through a hideous set by Hinder, Mayor Bart Peterson appeared out of the ether and walked up to NUVO photographer Melonshe and I. He shook our hands and said, “Thanks for coming.” Technically, this was Jim Irsay’s party, but don’t tell that to Peterson, who was grinning and shaking any hand he could get to.

Kelly Clarkson got on stage, and every red-blooded male with a clear view thought to themselves, “Man, I never knew she had all that junk in the trunk,” as she shouted out forgettable super-pop snacks.

But before any live music began, an hour-long set by a DJ held some surprising revelations. First, people in Indy like to dance, but they do not know how to dance. Secondly, only one song was sung by everyone there, young and old, male and female and of all races: “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC.

By the time John Mellencamp took the makeshift stage on the 50 yard line at the Hoosier Dome, the place was packed to the rafters, with every available seat taken. It was absolutely the loudest outpouring of love and alcoholic craziness I’ve ever experienced. Mellencamp was wise to perform “Small Town,” which is Indiana’s unofficial state song. He and his band absolutely nailed it, driving the place nuts before we went on to hand a whipping to the New Orleans Saints.

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