Tour of secondary markets starts March 23.

In his first North American tour in three years, John Mellencamp will play mostly secondary markets beginning March 23 at the Savannah (Ga.) Civic Center.

The tour supports his recent Island hits package, "Words & Music." If things go well, a 50-date larger-market tour will follow, and potentially some international dates.

Donovan will play all dates for the first leg, but not in the traditional supporting slot. Mellencamp will open the shows with an hourlong set, he says, then will be joined by Donovan for a couple of songs, followed by a solo Donovan set. Mellencamp will then close the show with another 40-plus-minute set.

Mellencamp says he has observed with interest the massive changes in the concert industry over the past several years, including the escalating ticket prices. "That's one of the reasons why I am going out and having ticket prices that are reasonable," he tells Billboard.biz. "Quite honestly, I was embarrassed my last tour how expensive tickets were. I had friends of mine going, 'John, it's kind of expensive for us to come out and see you.' And it made me think, if my friends are saying that to me, how about the person with a big phone bill and a house payment?"

For all dates in March and April, the top ticket price is $45, with the average between $25 and $35.

Mellencamp is booked by Creative Artists Agency.