stop on John Fogerty's world wide tour was in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on May 30th. The
gathering of River Rising members started at the Planet Hollywood restaurant near the
Skydome. In attendance were Greg Woolvet and his wife, and Greg's brothers Randy and Paul
along with their wives, Matt Loewen (flew in from Winnipeg, Manitoba some 1400 miles
away), Barry King and gal Teresa (all the way from Chester, England) and yours truly, Jack
After this brief rendezvous, everyone headed over to THE GUVERNMENT where John Fogerty was set to play around 8 PM. We were some 4 hours early hoping to get first in line anticipating a chance to get in to the sound check. We saw the limo pull up at around 4:30 PM with John, Julie and Bob Fogerty. Greg approached Bob and mentioned our RR connection. In the meantime, I was interviewed by local TV and all of us got some brief air time. Greg reported that we might be able to get in - all eight of us! About 15 minutes passed and the line was now approaching about 75-100 people. Bob came back out and said something to Greg and lo and behold, all 8 of us got to go inside while security held back the rest of the crowd.
Bob asked us to be still and we stood at the back of the
club and listened intently as John belted out some 12 songs during the sound check. Bob
talked to us throughout and was more than a gentleman in making us all feel welcome. It
was like we all died and went to heaven. Barry was continually pinching himself :) Matt
played air guitar to every tune and took notes on the songs played. I snuck over and
introduced myself to Julie. She is everything John has said publicly about her. Very
pretty. I mentioned our RR connection and she said she had heard about us and even
mentioned that "Javier" guy :) I mentioned communicating with Lisa on the mail
group and she said that her and Lisa often read the postings. (It was only later that I
found out that Lisa talked to Julie and was instrumental in getting us all in - thanks
again Lisa). Julie thanks for speaking with me!
Well, they could have said that was the end of the show at
the end of the sound check and we all would have gone home happy. A private showing just
for the River Rising members. Wow! We all went over after the check and bought souvenirs.
None of us were asked to leave so we proceeded to position ourselves front and center
during the warm up show. The warm up act was the pits. The only one who seemed to like it
was Matt (that should attest to how bizarre he is :-) ) After a grueling hour or so, the
crowd got thicker and swelled to around 750 people. Jam packed for this venue. We were
joined up front by Brother John and his girlfriend. We managed to meet Alaine and her
husband (fellow RR's) who drove some 7 hours to be there. Before leaving Bob Fogerty gave
us instructions on meeting John after the show. We keep that news to ourselves!
The show was solid, not a break in the action. The set list
was identical to that posted for the shows to date. Here are some of the statistics on the
Fogerty in concert: the stats (courtesy of John Sakamoto, The Toronto Sun)
Start time: 8:15 p.m. ET
The band: Kenny Aronoff (drums), Bob Glaub (bass), Greg Leisz (guitar), Johnny Lee Schell (guitar)
Complete setlist for John Fogerty, May 30, 1997 at The Guvernment,
John acknowledged our hand made RR signs. He even signed an autograph on the stage for a few people. We all sang Happy Birthday to John and he stood back and smiled as the crowd joined in. His birthday was only 2 days prior. He often laughed and joked with the crowd.
Over two hours of rock! We all sang along. The crowd was
primarily around a 30-45 year old gathering but there were some younger fans amongst the
group. My hearing took an entire day to come back as I was positioned next to one of the
larger speakers. We met up after the show and slowly made our way to the backstage door.
During the wait Bob Fogerty came back out and chatted with us. I can't say enough about
Bob and his help in meeting John and speaking with us. About an hour after the show was
over some 25 people gathered with us to greet the Fogerty's on their way to the limo. John
signed at least one autograph for everyone present. He was real approachable and chatty.
Matt is still waiting for his John but he did manage to get several pictures. We split up
but after the show I managed to meet up with Barry and Teresa and had dinner with them and
saw them off to the airport.
The concert was memorable. John, Julie and Bob are great
people. John Fogerty continues to be the best there is in my opinion. He sang every song
with enthusiasm and a genuine love for the audience. Hope he gets back to Toronto soon.
A special thanks to the River Rising Mail List for enabling a bunch of strangers to come together and create some long-lasting, world-wide friendships. This, apart from the concert will always be the thing that I treasure the most. The trust that we made in purchasing tickets for others. The immediate bond that formed with all of us and the promise of future meetings and continued friendships.