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Reviews of the July 26, 1997 Concert in Helsinki
at the Hartwall Areena.
Reports by The River Rising Mail List subscribers
Philip Brady, Anti Poussa.


  • Set List by Bill McComish
    As you already know the concert lasted 2 Hours 10 minutes!
  1. Born on the bayou
  2. Green River
  3. Lodi
  4. Looking out my back door
  5. Suzi Q
  6. I put a spell on you
  7. Bring it down to jellyroll
  8. Southern Steamline
  9. Who'll stop the rain
  10. Midnight special
  11. 110 in the shade
  12. Working on a building
  13. Joy of my life
  14. Big train from Memphis
  15. Centerfield
  16. Down on the Corner (audience PARTICIPATION!)
  17. Swamp river days
  18. Hot rod heart
  19. Before you accuse me
  20. Long as I can see the light
  21. Old man down Down The Road
  22. Blue boy
  23. Walking in a hurricane
  24. I heard it thru the grapevine
  25. Bad moon rising
  26. Fortunate son
  27. Proud Mary
  28. Travellin' Band!

Nakemiin Suomi, kiitos!

  • PHILIP BRADY, Ireland
    Music does funny things to people.

    There was a girl sitting close to us in the magnificent Hartwall Arena last night who spent most of the concert "Howling at the Honky Tonk Moon"....quite literally. She let go with these frequent high pitched whines at the end of every song and I don't think she sat down once during the entire concert.

    Not that many did.

    Former "Europe'' singer Joey Tempest kicked things off with a competent, if uninspiring set. He didn't seem to be pleased when told to finish, but the magic hour of 9.15 was approaching and anticipation was high.

    About 3 minutes before the lights went down, the 13,000 or so anticipated John's arrival with the fervor of a football crowd.....Premier League, England that is, Finnish soccer doesn't generate that type of emotion....or so I'm told.

    When the crickets and swampy sounds started, it was genuinely difficult to hear them, such was the level of crowd noise. From the first bars of Born on the bayou, John had the crowd in his pocket. Moving from side to side, belting out all the trademark guitar licks, he looked like a guy who just won the Lottery, smiling from ear to ear, not quite believing that he was back doing what he does best.

    The set list was unchanged from previous gigs and the songs were very well grouped, although the audience reaction to the CCR material was stronger than most of the newer stuff. But then there were a lot of 40 somethings out there. John really has got himself a superb backing band here. Tight, totally in harmony and with the added bonus of Mr. Perpetual Motion, the amazing Kenny Aronoff on drums. How this guy keeps it up for over 2 hours is a tribute to his fitness."The greatest drummer in the Universe" was the introduction. No one in Helsinki last night would disagree.

    Personal favorite ? On the night, I have to say, I thought 110 in the Shade, although played faster than on the record stood out, mainly because of the superb Dobro work. There was also a real kick ass version of Before you Accuse Me that had everyone jumping.

    Right, I know I'm biased, but there was no low point in the show. John did plenty of talking and seemed genuinely moved by the audience reaction. He also showed his sense of humor before Joy of My Life by saying that a wife was to rub your shoulders, to listen to your troubles, and to dance naked on the coffee table !

    The sound was excellent although it did creep up a little near uncomfortable level during Swamp River Days and Hot rod Heart. I don't think 2 1/4 hours has ever passed by so quickly.

    It was a brilliant night, musically and also because I met so many fellow River Risers. By the way, there is still one Irishman left in Helsinki. You can't miss him....he has a RIVER RISING.......ON TOUR T shirt on. Buy him a beer and remind him that he has to go home on Tuesday.....see you at the Dublin gig, Bill.

    So there you have it. Helsinki is lovely, what I saw of it. The people are very friendly, thanks Jukka, and it was well worth the trip to see one of the greats.

    Got a photo with him too, taken at the Airport. Now to get tickets for the next Euro leg

Philip Brady, Ireland


  • ANTTI POUSSA, Finland
    It was W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L!

    I haven't been on any other of his gigs, but I can't imagine anything better. John was amazing, so full of energy, playing heavenly, and - the best part for me - looking like he had the time of his life. I was right in front of him in the photographers' pit when he hit Born On The Bayou, and it was like this huge wave of pure energy and joy had hit me. Sheer bliss! Seeing him so close, hearing his booming voice and magnificent sound, seeing his fingers on the neck of the guitar.

    I can't say about the others, but for me it was like a god had landed right in front of me, cause I've had only one musical idol all my life, and there he was, for the first time!

    I had talked to him earlier of course, being so lucky as to get to the press conference, shaking hands, getting his signature, chatting with him and saying hi from the River-Rising people of course. He was as nice as they come, and in a great mood through all the meeting. It seemed as all the even toughest reporters had left all their malice and hard questions home, for the whole episode was engulfed in good vibrations and easy conversation.

    Woa, I'm still stunned! (and keep hitting walls and lamp posts)

    Maybe I can better exclaim my feelings when I catch my breath again, presumably sometime next year.

    THANKS JOHN if you get this! I think all the 12 - 15 000 people (it was sold out of course) in the Hartwall arena join me in saying you were the greatest man ever to play ROCK in Finland! Woo-ee!

    And just to add to the comment on John being unable to hit the high notes in "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", I heard his soundcheck and he had no trouble with them at that time. I think it was sheer exhaustion that he couldn't do it in the late part of the show anymore. Boy did he spend his energy.

    I'm still shaking people.

Antti Poussa, Finland

  • ROBERT AERTS, Belgium - The Lollipop, Sweden Concert.
    Just got home from (no, not Illinois) the Lollipop festival in Sweden. It took us a 19 hour car drive to get there and just as much to come back home but it really was worth the trip. So many nice things happen that it is too much to tell it all right now.
    I met Jukka Leino, Bo Hannsson, Anders Widman, Bjorn Harald Saether and two other guys from the Norwegian fanclub, and some other guys which names I forget now because I'm still so tired of the trip.

    One of the nicest moments was to find out that at the time we were in Stockholm we heard about the live show from Roskilde on the radio, we ran to the car, put the channel on 99.3 and could listen to the Roskilde show in the car. It was strange to see four people sitting in a car, shaking their heads and feet and nobody knew why. All the passengers thought we were crazy. For those that didn't get the chance to hear it yet, let me tell you that it was one of the best live shows I've ever heard, It was superb, probably recorded from the soundboard. GREAT!!!!! I was at the show in Roskilde but this sounded even better.

    Well to go on about Lollipop now, Friday afternoon there was a meeting from CCR/Fogerty fans in a restaurant called Hemingway, and lots of fellow fans showed up. There was a video playing constantly CCR and Fogerty clips, live shows,etc. There were about 10 TV's there, so everybody could see it well. There were even some drinks that had names like 'Green River' and others I forgot, I think also a "Blue Moon Swamp" drink. It felt great to meet and talk to all these other fans. There even was a quizz organised about CCR/Fogerty with some difficult questions.... I waited for Michael Bernander too but he probably didn't make it, where were you Michael???

    Well then it was time to go to the concert, we went there, parked the car, then we had to take a bus from the car to the festival site. This was a beautiful place, all surrounded with threes and hills and a lot of sunshine and happy people. First thing we wanted to do was buying some T-shirts, lots of people asked me to bring some, well I have to disappoint you all, everything was sold, all the caps, T-shirts, Bandanas, everything gone, probably long before we were there.

    We went to the stage and saw the Staple Singers too right before John's appearance. They were a good warm-up. Before the John's appearance, I kept looking for Bob, but I only could see a glimpse of him, backstage.

    John came up, completely dressed in black and the people just went out of their head. I stood right in front of him and it felt so great when after 30 seconds he saw me looked me in the eyes, pointed at me and shouted something I couldn't understand, but I'm sure it wasn't "go home". Even a bigger smile came upon his face when he saw the big sign I showed him which said "Welcome John, greetings from Belgium". The same sign I had with me at the Roskilde festival. I'm not going to describe every song he did, because I'm not so good in it, but they were all about the best I've ever heard, better than in Roskilde, maybe also because there were several stages so at each stage only the people showed up which were really interested in this music, this was completely different in Denmark.

    For those that are interested here are the songs he did:

  1. Bayou;
  2. Green River;
  3. Susie Q;
  4. Spell;
  5. Jelly Roll;
  6. Southern Streamline;
  7. Who'll stop the rain;
  8. Midnight Special;
  9. 110;
  10. Centerfield;
  11. Corner;
  12. Swamp River Days;
  13. Hot Rod Heart;
  14. Before You Accuse Me;
  15. Long As I Can See The Light;
  16. Old Man Down The Road (my favourite live song);
  17. Blue Boy;
  18. Hurricane;
  19. Grapevine;
  20. Bad Moon Rising;
  21. Fortunate Son.
  22. Proud Mary;
  23. Travelin' Band.

Altough people kept asking for more, the local crew started rebuilding the stage. There were no palm trees or whatever on John's stage, it's probably impossible to do this on a festival, because it's always rushing and rushing. I saw almost the whole show was taped for TV so we're probably going to see more about this later.

Robert Aerts, Belgium



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