Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
nce upon a time, John Fogerty eschewed any association with the band that made him famous, Creedence Clearwater Revival.
But time, which changed a long time ago, heals everything apparently. Not only is Fogerty playing CCR songs, he makes those overwhelmingly the cornerstone of his very fine, invigorating night of music that were the soundtracks of many an audience member's youth.
At 69, Fogerty may be getting up there in age, but that mattered not at all when it came to his abilities. His voice has not aged at all with his slightly roughed up vocals sounding about as good as ever through his songs of rock (most of the songs), blues "(Night Time Is the Right Time"), soul stirrings ("I Heard It Through the Grapevine") and country ("Mystic Highway").
Fogerty mined CCR's material for a long stretch starting with "Travelin' Band," "Green River," "Who'll Stop the Rain" and "Born on the Bayou." The instantly recognizable songs tended to get into high gear ultra fast.
Fogerty, unfortunately, gave short shrift to his own solo material. It was long into the evening before he played the swampy "Old Man Down the Road" and, of course, his song of summer, "Centerfield," where a humorous video showed him in an Oakland As uniform and not doing very well. Good thing he stuck to the music and his axe.
It would have been nice to hear Fogerty play a few more of his own songs such as "Rocking All Over the World" and "Almost Saturday Night."
Fogerty did offer one song from last year's self-covers album, "Wrote a Song For Everyone," where Fogerty teamed up with country stars like Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert to reprise his hits. But there was one song that was new, "Mystic Highway," and Fogerty did the tune justice on this evening.
Fogerty was a fun, engaging type, often moving about the stage, while seeming to thrive on the chance to play out. And while he tended to keep a bit of a lid on his band, the one person who particularly stood out in addition to the headliner was drummer Kenny Aronoff. Fogerty labeled him the best rock drummer in the world, and he would not be far off the mark.
The veteran shifted the songs into overdrive very quickly and was able to maintain that blazing pace throughout.
Of course, it helps when you have a guitarist like Fogerty, who excelled with his sharp playing. He could get steely, rocking, swampy and country. The tunes were familiar, but they never sounded like golden moldies. In Fogerty's hands along with his band mates (one of them is his son Shane, a student at University of Southern California, who took a few leads himself), the nearly two-our show was filled with fresh versions of old songs.
Sometimes, Fogerty would take the songs on an extended ride, jamming on with his capable band. At the end of "Old Man...," he patted his song on the back for a job well done.
The songs may have been on the old side, but closing with "Bad Moon Rising" and "Proud Mary" isn't such a bad thing when you play with a lot of heart and soul, even if they were from the vaults of Creedence.