After 11 years since last work "Centerfield", John
Fogerty released his album "Blue Moon Swamp" on May 20, 1997.
The album goes hand in hand with a "pre-Tour" where John Fogerty is performing
in small venues, his latest songs along with Creedence classic tunes, starting May 18 at
the San Francisco Fillmore.
- SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - Sept. 14
By Dave Joens: I attended
the South Bend, Indiana John Fogerty show last night and, rather than write a review,
which would be highly favorable, I'll just lay out some remarks and information for
1. The place was a very impressive old theater and nearly sold out. Many in the audience
were friends and family of Julie, who is from the area and whose sister, Lisa Taylor,
actually lives in South Bend
2. Despite having some equipment problems early, which bothered him a lot more than the
audience, Fogerty once again put on an energized show. This is the fourth time I've seen
him on this tour. This time, I particularly liked the ending guitar work on Southern
3. I also noticed that Centerfield and Midnight Special truly stand out as two of the
crowd's favorites. I never would have guessed that for Midnight Special, despite having
seen it performed on the Royal Albert hall video.
4. In all honestly, I like Midnight Special better without the Fairfield Four backing it.
It is just a more rowdy version.
5. Because of the local connection, Joy Of My Life worked better in this concert than in
any of the other three I have seen. It was pretty cool, actually and I think the song may
have been done slightly more up tempo than in the past.
6. As far as new paraphernalia. There is still no tour book but they are now selling black
sweatshirts ($40), white button collar shirts ($35) and white kids T-shirts ($18). All
contain the new logo, which is the alligator standing up and holding a guitar (as seen on
the stage backdrop) and the words Blue Moon Swamp World Tour written in a half circle from
the gator's head to his feet. Other than the kids T-shirt, the logo is small and on the
right breast of the shirts.
7. All in all, another great show. It is truly an honor and a privilege to see him on this
- MILWAUKEE - Sept. 10
By Bruce Linn: Just got
back to illinois from the milwaukee show (couldn't resist). The songs remain the same from
show to show ( this is my third ). Highlights include: b4 u accuse me, grapevine, down on
the corner, lodi, swamp river days, green river, centerfield, & old man down the
road. the show lasted approx 2.5 hours
He could put on a great show just using the songs he did not perform. A few hundred empty
seats in the balcony, but an energetic crowd. Fogerty gave out so many guitar picks that
he almost ran out - had to get more from backstage. fogerty seems much more comfortable
than the earlier shows in Chicago in May. The band was tighter, seem to truly
be enjoying temselves, Kenny is fantastic, and the guitar work by the others was
wonderfull (wish I could remember their names - can somebody please advise their
names for my own info).
Hope he returns to the Chicago / Milwaukee area again real soon. He promises to stay
around from now on - no 10 year disappearances. I absolutely concur with all of the others
who have said " if u get a chance, see the show".
- SAN LOUIS - Sept. 8
By Kevin D., St. Louis, Mo., USA:
Man Oh Man Oh Man! What a concert! What a show! It lasted almost 3 hours and they
still didn't get to Up Around the Bend or Run Through The Jungle! John Fogerty was having
so much fun, and it was so contagious, that we didn't even realize that much time had gone
by! He played several songs from Blue Moon Swamp, and they all sounded great.
He played a "shorter" long version of Heard It Through The Grapevine, but there
was a LOT of jammin' going on last night. He, of course, started with Born on the Bayou.
Some of the songs he played on his original Kustom amp (the same one he has been using
since he played in Lodi, California - according to John) Suzie Q; I Put A Spell On You.
Others he played on his Gibson guitars were 110° In The Shade; Blue Boy; Hot Rod
Heart; Lodi; Proud Mary; Travelin' Band; Long As I Can See The Light; Who'll Stop The
Rain; Down On The Corner, Big Train From Memphis, .
He played Centerfield on a custom "baseball bat" shaped guitar. Everyone loved
it. And sure enough....he sang "there's a bathroom on the right" instead of
"there's a bad moon on the rise"! Everyone in my row caught it and laughed
and applauded. "Workin' on a Building" from the Blue Ridge Range album
was great. He was sitting and playing a dobro for that one. He played a blistering version
of Before You Accuse Me on a Fender Stratocaster. I have long been a fan of this song by
Eric Clapton and John Fogerty, and last night-Fogerty won me back because of the energy
and intensity he put into this song.
Kenny Aranoff was fantastic on the drums. He did so much more than keep the beat simple.
He was aggressive, and put a lot of his energy into his playing. I went to the show with a
former rock musician and he thought that Kenny was a "good showman". His
drumming made me sit up and take notice. He was tastefully putting drumming where there
hadn't been any
before, as it should have been to some extent. The music should grow and change and
improve as the people playing it do. The bass sounded excellent too. It filled the hall,
and was felt hroughout.
Fogerty's voice sounded better than it ever has. Maybe the old albums show the stress of
the touring and constant singing. The set was awesome. A swamp setting with a giant
sun/moon. The swamp changed from daytime to nighttime as the concert progressed and the
bugs came out. There were alligators with guitars and bandanas. It looked as if the drums
were setting on a dock at the edge of the water. The stage was covered with lily pads. An
old shack at the edge of the stage had a slow turning fan in it.
What a truly great concert! I am really happy that I got to go. I never thought I would
ever have the opportunity to see John Fogerty, and then I was worried that my expectations
may have been too high. But, Friends, he did it! He pulled it off! He had the place on
their feet from the "git-go"! He was constantly throwing out guitar picks
to the audience and shaking
hands, and when he played.....he just couldn't keep still. He was moving. And having fun.
And we all had fun with him. And He told Us "Thank You". Can you imagine
that?! One of the last things he said was that all he has ever wanted to do is to play and
make good rock and roll music and he truly appreciated everyone. It was mutual admiration,
that is for certain.
- By Dave Joens: I was
at the St. Louis concert, held at the historic and beautiful Fox Theater, and what a great
time it was. met up with River-risers Ethan from Bloomington and Leah and her
husband. I had gotten Ethan his ticket but I met Leah because I followed her into
the parking lot and noticed her license plate read CCRFAN 2.
Anyway, I've reviewed the concerts I saw in Chicago in May and we've had a lot of
concert reviews, including Kevin's good one on this St. Louis show, so I'll just add
1. Love the backdrop. I'm not a big fan of the whole Blue Moon motif, but I loved the
backdrop Fogerty has added.
2. Fogerty kicked butt and really fed off the crowd. He wore a hat tossed to him and
looked great in it and later, for Centerfield, wore a Cardinals baseball hat.
3. I was prepared not to like the opening act, The Bottle Rockets, but they were
4. I continue to be amazed at how great Fogerty's guitar is. The rap on Creedence (and the
Beatles) always was that in concert they always sounded just like they did in studio. No
more. Fogerty's guitar takes many of the songs to new heights, as does his great attitude
and his rapport with the fans.
5. Speaking of guitar, I think the I Put a Spell On You, Before You Accuse Me, Big Train
From Memphis, the bluesy Long As I Can See The Light and especially Old Man Down The Road
were concert highlights.
6. All three times I've seen Fogerty this tour, Old Man has blown me away, but the version
in St. Louis was the best ever. That song, and Before You Accuse Me is why this man has to
release a concert album.
7. It occured to me during this show that those of you going to see JF in Memphis have two
songs that will give the crowd a little extra to cheer about.
8. They are selling posters now of Fogerty, something they didn't do in Chicago in
May and are also selling a new t-shirt. The shirt has a picture of Fogerty on the
front (the same one used on the Australian maxi-single) and concert dates on the back.
Although proclaimed the Blue Moon Swamp World Tour on the back, it only lists dates from
Denver, Colorado to Dallas, Texas, missing the first leg of the tour and all overseas
dates and making this a
much smaller world than it really is.
9. I'm going to see John again at South Bend on Sunday and I got to tell ya', I'm just as
pumped and excited as the first three times I've seen him on this tour. The man puts
on a great show.
- SAN FRANCISCO (and other venues...) -August 17
By Kevin Mulvay, Australia:
Arrived in San Francisco from Karratha Western Australia, at 7 am, 17August, long day
ahead. After eventually getting a hire car (9.30 am) I drove straight down to the
Shoreline, met some pretty accomadating Bill Graham people on the gate, who, with
encouragement, let me in to see the set up, and the earthy swamp / moon backdrop. Having
not slept well on three planes to get to SF I eventually found a motel on El Camino Real
Sunny vale, crashed out for four hours and went along to the show, fair eat row S on the
Did it matter when John opened up with the classic E7 Bayou riff?? Not in the least,
although I was suprised this was on his gold Les Paul custom, having always thought it was
a Ric. The whole place was on it's feet and generally this didn't stop. My highlight was
the Kustom/Rickenbaker combo on Suzie Q and Spell. John's voice here was outstanding and
the chills sure went down the spine with the loose open chords and fierce controlled wail
here. Did I say highlight? Well this is all relative, as Before You Accuse Me, Swamp River
Days and Fortunate are all other strong memories. Accuse made me feel justified in my
standing up for John's guitaring in the light of the "Clapton is God" crew
around Perth. Have a listen in one day Eric! (No disrespect here man). I me t another
person, later in my trip, who shall I say, was very close to John for many years, who
complimented John's 'almost inhuman' voice on the original Travellin Band, and I said to
him that it is still there. Slightly different but still there.
At Shoreline I met Stuart the Soundman before the show, arranged to meet him in
Sacramento, and then met Kenny after sound check, saw Julie walking by but was to 'shy' to
go up, impose and say Hi, I'm travelling from Australia, can I meet you guys. But thanks
to Stuart, and Bob Fogerty, I ended up meeting the man post show, he signed my kids books
and was very friendly. Looked tired understandably and kept his voice low after having
just finished up Fortunate Son and Travellin Band! We then met up in Eugene Oregon at the
show, and Julie said hi too. Well after 25 years these two experiences along with the
shows were very special, and almost had a sense of unbelievability for someone who had
come 12,000 miles.
Over the next ten days I saw JCF in Sacramento, Eugene, and after talking to Dana and his
wife, was convinced to drive another 400 miles to The Gorge in Washington state. The shows
were all powerful, I noticed that John's voice sounds better after two days rest (Eugene),
than one days (Sacramento and The Gorge). "Tilt that bed a little higher eh
John!" The guitaring in
the shows is definetly broader than in CCR days, and the band tight and gives a good
rendition of the old stuff generally, although understandably not the same 'sound', than
quality that added to the uniqueness of Creedence. But I ain't complainin' here, the boys
are great, and thanks for being so open and friendly Kenny.
Some one who does not wish to be mentioned, but whom I met one the plane from SF to
Eugene, and is associated with the tour, talked to me about some of the factors in that
sound. My message back is that it is still out there and still performing beautifully, if
ever the fans had their way. But as I mentioned elsewhere, two different groups of people,
two different opinions.
Thanks for the memories to all involved here, and John I was glad you said at the Gorge
that you are "not going away." The people are glad to have you back.
- BOSTON - HARBOR LIGHTS PAVILLION, July 20
By ACE: God I don't know where to
start!!! My heart is still pounding!!!! To coin a phrase... JCF ROCKED MY SOCKS OFF last
night at Harborlights pavilion on pier 1 in Boston.
I got there early, as is my tradition with a Harborlights event. I do this because parking
is limited on the waterfront, and I can grab a bite and a couple of brewskis at one of the
local seafood places. While sitting out on the deck of the restaurant, overlooking Boston
harbor, I heard a good portion of John's soundcheck. (According to the ushers, he did a
one-hour soundcheck!!!) The songs I heard were:
Born On The Bayou
I Put A Spell On You
John went on promptly at 8:30, after the Fairfield Four did a killer half hour opening
set. Kudo's to John for finding these guys-they are amazing. Incidentally-there are five
members of the Fairfield Four. John opened with the one-two punch of Born On The Bayou and
Green River. As the first few notesof BOTB were played, the audience got to its feet, and
a crowd quickly formed in front of the stage. Following this in quick succession were
killer, but painfully short versions of Lodi & Lookin' Out My Backdoor.(for some
reason John deleted the last verse of Lodi, and the last verse and chorus of Backdoor) At
that point, his roadies brought out his 1968 Kustom stack and his Rickenbacker 325. Thus
began a sizzling duo of Suzie Q and I Put A Spell On You, which he introduced by saying
"This is a Gen-YU-INE 1968 Kustom amplifier as seen at Woodstock. It wasn't in the
movie, But it was at Woodstock" Later in the show, when a solitary bic was visible
waving above the crowd John Commented: " When I was at Woodstock, I went on in the
middle of the night, after the Grateful Dead. Everybody appeared to be asleep, except this
one guy who was waving a lighter around... WAS THAT YOU?(Audience laughs)So I've payed my
dues, I played for one person..."
Then BMS stalwarts Jellyroll and Southern Streamline were played. "Streamline"
featured John's fine Tele and Steel work. The audience seemed to take this as an
oppertunity to grab a beer, or head to the restroom. He had them back at their seats
dancing for "Who'll Stop The Rain," and a KILLER version of "Midnight
Special" with the Fairfield Four that just rocked. He commented that this was the
last show he'd be doing with the Fairfield Four on this leg of the tour. He then
introduced 110 In The Shade, which was excellent, if a bit rushed rhythmically. He then
picked up his dobro for an excellent "Workin' On A Building," and proclaimed his
love for Julie before playing an impassioned version of "Joy Of My Life" Then
came John's lightnin' Tele work on Big Train From Memphis. 110, Workin, Big Train and Joy
were all played with acoustic accompaniment and a jazz drum set that was brought out for
Aronoff. Then the stage goes dark-The intro to Centerfield begins, and when the stage
lights come up, there's John, grinning like a schoolboy and pickin his baseball bat
guitar. After this, John says "I'd like to say something from the bottom of my
heart-All I ever wanted to do was play music for great people like Y'all" At this
point He picks out the intro to Down On The Corner, and the place just erupts. The crowd
is really rowdy now. John does four or five stop-time choruses to accomodate an audience
sing-along, and ends it with a bang. Then two more BMS soon to be classics-"Swamp
River Days" and One of my faves "Hot Rod Heart" The crowd seemed more
receptive to these songs than Jellyroll and Streamline, giving them a hearty round of
applause. He followed this up with a lightning fast version of "Before Y'accuse
Me" and a soul stirring "Long As I Can See The Light" Now the set builds to
a climax. John does a rockin "Old Man Down The Road," grooves and sells
"Blueboy" and when he hits "Hurricane" the audience is dancing and
singing along by the second chorus. After a slight pause, he kicks off an extended jam on
"Grapevine" which he follows up with the final numbers, "Bad Moon
Rising" which blew the GMA version off the map!!!! and a Sledgehammer version of
"Fortunate Son." Encores consist of Proud Mary and Travelin' Band. John lets us
sing a few choruses in Proud Mary, ends it, then announces "We got one more for
ya!!" and Steamrolls over Travelin' Band. After it all was over, I was glad I'd
brought my "Hearos" because the sound was clean as a whistle but unbearably loud
down front. I was hoarse from singing, and dehydrated, and exhausted, but I can't remember
a better concert recently. (The only contender would be Springsteen's Four Hour Marathon
shows in NYC for BIUSA)
John's stamina was incredible for an old fart, the show lasted roughly 2 hours and fifteen
minutes. He showed no signs of fatigue, and by the end of the show he was jumping all over
the stage. His voice did get a little ragged towards the end, but he never failed to hit
his notes. I'm still stunned from what I think has got to be the best show I've seen this
year!!! More when I remember it...
PHILADELPHIA, July 15,
By Joe Hannigan: I mentioned earlier that the Fairfield
Four was exceptional. What an amazing group. JCF scores a coup here, both in finding them,
and having the good sense to use em as a warm-up and in his set. (Somebody say
I was completely surprised at the stage set and the swamp scene. Very cool; and as someone
mentioned, the lighting plays a key role in the mood. The evening scenes are
very nice, and the man in the moon glows along with it all.
Personnel-wise, Johns got a great band. Bob Glaub on bass is competent, and knows
how to keep out of the spotlight. Much has already been said about Kenny A on drums. (my
son thought he stole the show!) There was an interesting moment when they brought out the
small set for him to use during the acoustic portion of the show. (something
tells me that hes going to sound the same on most any set they put in front of him!)
Those two guys that play all the other guitar parts are very competent sidemen, and the
choices of who plays what seemed to make a lot of sense. JCF was free to concentrate on
singing and the main guitar riffs, while they played the other fills and parts. (Case in
point was the lead guitar work under the chorus of Centerfield. The guy
closest to Kenny played the
strat parts under Put me in Coach.... etc... It all seemed to make sense, when
you could hear them, that is....)
JCF was in fine form vocally and instrumentally. Ive never heard him singing better.
The only notes he wasnt able to really nail were the falsetto wails in
Grapevine and I was surprised he even attempted em. He certainly
wouldve been forgiven for ducking THOSE notes. Every other note, scream, wail and
moan was hit DEAD-ON with no lame excuses. (Listen to guys like Roger McGuinn, Greg Lake
and other guys JCFs age who dont quite hit the high notes anymore and
youll know what I mean...)
The show went until 11:10; another surprise. (they mustve had to pay the Union guys
overtime; I KNOW the local I.A.S.T.I.E. Union here in Philly, and they are dead serious
As for after the show, we were drained, it was HOT; still 85 degrees outside (at 11:20
p.m.!!!) and so we didnt fight the crowd to stick around and try to meet John.
Perhaps next time. I was so deafened by the sound system that I wouldnt have heard
him if I DID meet him! Not to knock anyone whos made the effort to meet him
afterward, but I truly felt he didnt owe me any more for the night. Hed worn
light blue denim shirt and pants for the show, and by the end, it was all soaked thru from
the sweat. The Tower Theater has air conditioning, but between the heat outside, the
people inside, the lights, and the heat the band generated, it was very hot throughout the
And now, some thoughts about the sound at the Tower Theater....
I realize that getting good, up-front seats can sometimes backfire. We were 7th row, and I
really thought we wouldnt get the brunt of the PA mains (and sub woofer) cabinets.
So, I didnt bring hearing protection. God, was I wrong. It was perhaps
one of the loudest shows Ive ever been to, at least from our perspective. To be fair
to the guy mixing it all, it might have been better back mid-way in the house, where HE
sits. To get it loud and full where he sits might mean that the poor folks in the front
section just get FRIED acoustically. Im sure that was the case with us. Believe me,
I LOVE it loud, and I love a lot of bass, but this was just ridiculous. Most of the night,
we heard nothing BUT bass drum and bass guitar. Once in a while, ya could hear JCFs
voice above it all, and sometime the leads were clear.
And amazingly, it all seemed to get a whole notch LOUDER with Before Yacuse
Me. From there on out, it was beyond sanity, it was so loud.
If youre going to see the show, bring hearing protection like those -20db plugs they
sell at most music stores now. It all sounds better with your ears plugged anyway, at
least at indoor venues. All the splash, boomy reverb and other junk is gone, and
youll hear the mix in stunning clarity. For a while, I was holding my ears shut w/my
thumbs, but of course I couldnt do that all night....
Its too bad all the subtlety gets trashed this way; the bass drum was just a cannon
the entire show, with no in-between, no texture, no finesse, just a tic and
booommmmmm on every beat. The bass was about the same, but a little less overdone while
Bob used the hollow body. The combination of the two literally shook my pants legs, and
gave me serious heart palpitations. I went to bed with two distinct tones ringing in my
ears, and a lot of actual pain in the left ear. Sometime around midday today I felt the
left ear begin to start feeling normal again, not unlike a sinus cavity opening back up
after a cold....
I really could kick myself for not bringing the earplugs. I lost track of all the guitar
changes, so many for JCF and his two backup guys, but again, it all seemed worth it. We
counted at least 4 Les Pauls for JCF, two or three Teles, and at least two Strats,
several colors and E or D tunings, as needed. Then there was the Dobro, and the
electrified steel (dobro too?) Oh, and dont forget the Baseball bat for Centerfield.
And of course, it was all wireless, at least for JCF.
All in all, very much worth the wait. Regardless of all thats been said, written,
speculated, who's right, who's wrong, etc., the guy can still play and sing, better than
ever. Instead of the clinical note-for-note approach that he and the Eagles used to use,
all the songs start from the original blueprint, with most of the original riffs, solos,
etc., and then sort of stretch out from there.
Hes truly glad to be back, and along with James Brown, currently deserves the title:
Hardest Working Man in Show Business. He made a point of thanking everyone for
believing in him, and I just about cried during "Lodi" and "Long as I can
See the Light." The guy's still got it." The author belongs to the River Rising
Louisville, July 10
By David Pettit:
"I attended the show in Louisville last night, and I must say that - musically - it
was the best concert I've ever been to. John's really picked it up on the guitar, and some
of the best moments (for me) were the jams where he'd just improvise stuff. He chatted
with the crowd quite a bit, which I found entertaining. This one guy in the front row kept
reaching up to shake his hand, and the guy was holding a cellular phone that must have
been surgically attached, because I NEVER saw him without it. Anyway, during the end jam
of Swamp River Days, JCF took the phone out of his hand and mimicked a conversation, all
the while trilling some guitar licks with his free hand. Quite amusing, if I do say so. I
don't have a whole lot to say, I don't guess, about any particulars, other than to say
that his energy level was phenomenal for the entire show. I don't think I could have kept
anything up for that long, but the encores were two of the more energetic performances of
the night. He was jumping up and down during the guitar solos in 'Traveling Band,' two
hours after the first notes of 'Born on the Bayou' rang out. He really knows how to play
the crowd, and even better, he knows how to put on a show. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and
for those who are interested in the setlist, here's what I've got written down - this
should be complete."
- Born on the Bayou
- Green River
- Lookin' out my Backdoor
- Suzie Q.
- I Put a Spell on You
- Bring it Down to Jelly Roll
- Southern Streamline
- Who'll Stop the Rain
- The Midnight Special (w/ Fairfield Four)
- 110 in the Shade (w/ Fairfield Four)
- Workin' on a Building (w/ dobro)
- Joy of my Life (w/ Dobro)
- Big Train (from Memphis) - this was actually just one verse of Big Train
and then about 2 minutes of crazy improv country guitar - one of the highlights, for me.
- Centerfield ('The guitar has finally come home!')
- Down on the Corner
- Swamp River Days
- Hot Rod Heart
- Before You Accuse Me (great intro by John)
- Long as I Can See the Light
- The Old Man Down the Road
- Blue Boy
- Walkin' in a Hurricane
- I Heard it Through the Grapevine
- Bad Moon Rising
- Fortunate Son (way, way too good for a 52-year old)
- Proud Mary
- Travelin' Band."
The author of the Review above belongs to the River Rising Mail List.
- ROCKIN' LIKE A HURRICANE: The Manhattan Civic Center,
June 2, 1997
By Jerry P. Danzig
- "First a brief word of introduction. I have been a compulsive John Fogerty
fan ever since I first heard "Proud Mary" in 1968.
At school in 1969, I
listened to the single of "Bad Moon Rising" so much when I first got up every
day that the students I was living with confiscated the record until I promised not to
play it before noon!
I also used to have constant arguments with friends who maintained that the CCR songs
were too simple. "Cretins Clearwater" they called my favorite band. All I could
say in return was, "hey, Ill bet you theyll be playing Creedence on the
radio long after everyones forgotten what the Moby Grape was, much less what they
And I had the good fortune to see CCR more specifically, the remarkable John
Fogerty several times back in their heyday. Once in 1969 at the old Fillmore East,
most memorably albeit briefly at the Shea Stadium Peace Festival in 1970, and again as a
trio at the Forest Hills Stadium in 1971. I also saw Fogerty when he toured following the
release of "Eye of a Zombie" in 1986.
So you can imagine my excitement, not to mention amazement, when the guitar player in
my blues band called up a month or so ago and said, "Hey, Jerry, it says here in the Voice
that John Fogertys coming to town!"
After confirming that he was not hallucinating, I found the news on the Internet about
the new album, discovered the River Rising site, listened to the Internet premiere of Blue
Moon Swamp, and after playing the CD almost non-stop since its release on May 20th, have
been patiently awaiting the chance to see the man play the songs he wrote thirty years
I was not disappointed Monday night.
John took the stage a little after 9 PM, looking practically the same as he had in
1986. He was wearing cowboy boots, black jeans, and a black cowboy shirt with brown
And he seemed even happier to see us than we were to see him!
Now I have two infallible indicators of the quality of rock & roll music. At home,
I find that I turn up the stereo volume almost involuntarily when the music is hot; Blue
Moon Swamp has been rattling my windows! At a concert, my foot starts stomping and
Monday night, I was stomping so hard I was afraid Id knock plaster off the newly
renovated balcony at the Civic Center!
I have long maintained that Fogertys music is so powerful its like a force
of nature. A hurricane comes to mind... And we were in for quite a dose of weather on
Youve probably all seen the set list, and he did adhere to it without deviation:
Born on the Bayou and Green River got it started, just like they did in 1970. What a
one-two punch! Watch out for falling plaster below!
Then came Lodi, Lookin Out My Back Door, Suzie Q, and I Put a Spell On You before
the first song off BMS, Bring It Down to Jellyroll. If the audience wasnt fairly
breathless at the intensity of Johns performance so far, this last song was a tour
de force in itself, with John playing a guitar during the vocals and a pedal steel
during the instrumentals!
Some of the highlights of the show I caught included Spell, the Midnight Special and
110 in the Shade (both performed with the Fairfield Four providing backup harmony),
Workin on a Building (with John on dobro), Centerfield (John on baseball bat
guitar), Down On the Corner (with John encouraging the audience to belt out a few choruses
on its own), Hot Rod Heart, the Old Man Down the Road, Blueboy, Walkin in a
Hurricane, and of course Fortunate Son.
I noticed that the band seemed to play the stuff off the new album louder, as if they
had to sell it harder. They didnt need to; the new material sounded right at home
with the CCR classics. I was also struck by how good the Centerfield tunes sounded,
notably Centerfield and Old Man. This bodes well for BMS in ten years!
If there was anything I could criticize about the show, it might be the set list, in
terms of song selection and sequence. The "guy who wrote Proud Mary" simply has
too much excellent material to fit into a two-hour show! The tunes I missed most were Up
Around the Bend, Rockin All Over the World, Almost Saturday Night, Hey Tonight, and
Sweet Hitch-hiker. I would gladly have heard John play these classics instead of some of
the covers like Before You Accuse Me and Heard It Through the Grapevine, as well as John
The truth is, Johns best material has always been better than his sources, and
who else can play it as well?
And as generous as John was playing so many CCR hits, I found myself wishing he had
played nothing but during the last half hour of the concert, instead of introducing Swamp
River Days and Hurricane so late in the show. The new material is terrific, but its
hard to top songs weve all grown up with.
In fact, how do you close a show that opens with Born on the Bayou? My answer is that
John might consider bringing back Chooglin as the closer, like in CCR days. Yes,
its a simple song, but its an incredibly effective simple song, and it
rocks long, fast, and hard. Its a pretty tough act to follow, except for a timeless
encore comprised of Proud Mary and Travelin Band.
Now that Ive got all that off my chest, I must again marvel at the energy
"the old man" was emanating on Monday. He seemed, if anything, to pick up steam
as the two-hour-plus show went on, until by the last song, Travelin Band, he was
literally jumping up and down and bounding around the stage like a kid!
The only other one in the room who seemed able to match Johns energy level was
the great drummer Kenny Aronoff, whose snare strokes all night extended to the full reach
of his left arm. Like many in the audience, the dynamic drummer was beaming with such joy
and excitement it looked like he could have lit up a city block all by himself! I hope
John and Kenny continue to work together for years to come; they make an unbeatable team.
At any rate, the concert was a remarkable performance from start to finish, and one I
hope you all will have the chance to catch during the tour.
Rock & roll just doesnt get any better, and on Monday John again effortlessly
proved to me why his music is indeed the "joy of my life" and of so many others
as well." Special for the River Rising Web.
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