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John Fogerty stages a most welcome return

Orpheum Theatre, Boston, November 6, 2007

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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John Fogerty may have come to terms with his past as the key member of Creedence Clearwater Revival, but no need to worry about that because he has new material to dole out as well.

And in the fourth date of his short U.S. tour, Fogerty sure needn't think his new songs are second fiddle to the CCR material.

In fact, Fogerty easily alternated between his old and new songs without any problem whatsoever and certainly no worse for wear during the two-hour show before an enthusiastic audience.

Fogerty is touring behind his very fine, sometimes overtly political disc, "Revival," which happens to he out on his old label, Fantasy. Fogerty was embroiled in a fight with the label for many years, but the new owner of the label (TV [producer Norman Lear) wanted to make sure the dispute was over and signed Fogerty.

Fogerty made it clear he was not just touring behind his chestnuts, starting off with "River Is Waiting" from "Revival" with Fogerty rising out of the center of the stage, arms akimbo and a guitar leaning against him. The rest of the band could not be seen - only heard - during the slower song, but he was off to a good start.

He then kicked into gear with the rocking "Good Golly Miss Molly" and "Bad Moon Rising," done a bit differently than the original.

Fogerty tended to alternate between old and new for awhile. And he also mixed it up sonically between his trademark swampy sound musically and vocally ("Born on the Bayou" and "Old Man Down the Road"), country ("Broken Down Cowboy," decked out in a white cowboy hat, Fogerty said, "This is a song about a guy I used to know. Actually, a guy used to be. I'm glad I'm not that guy any more. When my wife first met me, I was not a bargain, but I'm eternally grateful") and rockers ("I Can't Take It No More," a new track).

Fogerty played eight of the dozen songs on "Revival," and it never felt too much because the song quality is there.

Closing with "Travelin' Band" and "Proud Mary," Fogerty treated the songs with respect and infused them with energy, fortunately not seeming tired of playing them again.

His voice was no worse for wear after these years. He still tended to clip his words a bit, but sounded in good form.

Fogerty was particularly helped by drum great Kenny Aaronson, who he referred to as "the greatest rock drummer in the world." Not sure about that, but no need to worry because he did the job quite well.

Fogerty could not be accused of dragging it out at all. It was hard to believe that the regular set was over after 105 minutes. He rarely extended a song just to eat up the clock. In fact, some songs could have gone on longer.

Nor has Fogerty lose his sense of purpose. "Who'll Stop the Rain" was political back then and still seems quite poignant, but he minced no words in his new material here, going after President Bush in "Long Dark Night." He brightens up his sentiments for better days on "Don't You Wish It Were True," which Fogerty said was a song about "what the world would be if we all got along."

This was a most welcome back for John Fogerty, who still has a lot to say and say it well.