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John Fogerty Blue Moon Swamp Tour

 

BMS PosterAfter 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.

 

 

 

 

Concert Review

  • 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 everyone.
    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 Streamline.
    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 tour.

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  • 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".

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  • 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 lightning
    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 some observations.
    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 O.K.
    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 extreme left.

    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.

Concert Reviews

  • 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
    Green River
    Just Pickin'
    Suzie Q.
    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...
    Peace,
    ACE

Concert Reviews

  • 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 AMEN!!!)

    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, John’s 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 he’s 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. I’ve never heard him singing better. The only notes he wasn’t able to really nail were the falsetto wails in “Grapevine” and I was surprised he even attempted ‘em. He certainly would’ve 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 JCF’s age who don’t quite hit the high notes anymore and you’ll know what I mean...)

    The show went until 11:10; another surprise. (they must’ve 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 about OT.)

    As for after the show, we were drained, it was HOT; still 85 degrees outside (at 11:20 p.m.!!!) and so we didn’t fight the crowd to stick around and try to meet John. Perhaps next time. I was so deafened by the sound system that I wouldn’t have heard him if I DID meet him! Not to knock anyone who’s made the effort to meet him afterward, but I truly felt he didn’t owe me any more for the night. He’d 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 the show.

    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 wouldn’t get the brunt of the PA mains (and sub woofer) cabinets. So, I didn’t bring hearing protection. God, was “I” wrong. It was perhaps one of the loudest shows I’ve 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. I’m 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 JCF’s voice above it all, and sometime the leads were clear.

    And amazingly, it all seemed to get a whole notch LOUDER with “Before Ya’cuse Me.” From there on out, it was beyond sanity, it was so loud.

    If you’re 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 you’ll hear the mix in stunning clarity. For a while, I was holding my ears shut w/my thumbs, but of course I couldn’t do that all night....

    It’s 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 Tele’s, 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 don’t 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 that’s 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.

    He’s 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 Mail List.

Concert Reviews

  • 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."
    Set List:

  1. Born on the Bayou
  2. Green River
  3. Lodi
  4. Lookin' out my Backdoor
  5. Suzie Q.
  6. I Put a Spell on You
  7. Bring it Down to Jelly Roll
  8. Southern Streamline
  9. Who'll Stop the Rain
  10. The Midnight Special (w/ Fairfield Four)
  11. 110 in the Shade (w/ Fairfield Four)
  12. Workin' on a Building (w/ dobro)
  13. Joy of my Life (w/ Dobro)
  14. 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.
  15. Centerfield ('The guitar has finally come home!')
  16. Down on the Corner
  17. Swamp River Days
  18. Hot Rod Heart
  19. Before You Accuse Me (great intro by John)
  20. Long as I Can See the Light
  21. The Old Man Down the Road
  22. Blue Boy
  23. Walkin' in a Hurricane
  24. I Heard it Through the Grapevine
  25. Bad Moon Rising
  26. Fortunate Son (way, way too good for a 52-year old)
    Encore:
  27. Proud Mary
  28. Travelin' Band."

The author of the Review above belongs to the River Rising Mail List.

Concert Reviews

  • 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, I’ll bet you they’ll be playing Creedence on the radio long after everyone’s forgotten what the Moby Grape was, much less what they played!"

    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 Fogerty’s 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 ago...

    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 leather embroidery.

    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 I’d knock plaster off the newly renovated balcony at the Civic Center!

    I have long maintained that Fogerty’s music is so powerful it’s like a force of nature. A hurricane comes to mind... And we were in for quite a dose of weather on Monday night.

    You’ve 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 wasn’t fairly breathless at the intensity of John’s 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 didn’t 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 played them.

    The truth is, John’s 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 it’s hard to top songs we’ve 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, it’s a simple song, but it’s an incredibly effective simple song, and it rocks long, fast, and hard. It’s a pretty tough act to follow, except for a timeless encore comprised of Proud Mary and Travelin’ Band.

    Now that I’ve 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 John’s 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 doesn’t 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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