Saturday, November 16, 2013

John Fogerty Takes the Oakdale Theatre on a Trip to "Bayou Country" & Beyond

John Fogerty’s songs (both with Creedence Clearwater Revival & solo) have become part of the American lexicon, so it’s no surprise that he played to a packed house at the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, CT on Saturday, November 9. He’s touring in support of his new album, Wrote A Song For Everyone, on which he re-recorded some of his classic tunes with artists like Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Bob Seger, Dawes and Kid Rock. On this tour, he’s performing a CCR album in its entirety each night, followed by some additional songs. Before the concert started, a slide show related some information on John’s life & music. Then a brief series of video clips & photos from throughout his career continued as the lights came down. It was a nice way to start the show, and a further reminder of his standing as a rock icon, and of the many memorable songs he's written and recorded.

 Fogerty took the stage, launched into the CCR hit “Hey Tonight” and followed it up with a fantastic, swamp-infused version of "Born On The Bayou." This kicked off almost two and a half hours of classic rock & roll. At this show, he played 1969’s Bayou Country, (though he saved one song from the album for the encore) and a host of other CCR and solo classics. It’s amazing to think there was a long period in the 1980s where he didn’t play any CCR material live at all, due to long standing legal battles with his record company regarding ownership of his music. But those issues are long past; John was shredding the guitar, jamming with his band and running back & forth across the stage, looking like he was about half his 68 years. His voice sounded great as well. He was having a ball, and seemed to have an endless supply of energy throughout the night.

 Song after song had the crowd singing along, cheering and dancing; How can you stay seated when you hear “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” or “Up Around The Bend?” There were also a few stories, including a funny one about CCR following The Grateful Dead at Woodstock, and playing to a sleepy (or was that stoned?) audience at 2:30 in the morning, which was followed by a phenomenal version of "Who''ll Stop The Rain?" The band was nothing short of amazing, offering stellar support; the group included veteran rocker Kenny Aronoff on drums, Bob Malone on keyboards, James Lomanzo on bass and Devon Pangle & John's son Shane, both on guitar. This was truly a talented group of musicians, and John clearly enjoyed playing with them, as well as hanging back on occasion and giving them each a chance to take the spotlight. His sheer joy & enthusiasm was contagious, and the audience loved every minute of this epic show.

Other highlights included an audience participation version of “The Midnight Special” and a lengthy, super-charged take on “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” after which John called Aronoff “the greatest rock & roll drummer in the world.” The last portion of the show was a non-stop parade of electric, full tilt rock & roll, ranging from a cover of Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman" to the CCR staple “Down on the Corner” as well as the 1985 comeback hits “Centerfield” and “The Old Man Down The Road.” The show reached a climax with a blistering version of the classic “Fortunate Son." When John & the band returned for the double-barreled encore of “Bad Moon Rising” & “Proud Mary” the crowd roared its approval. This was a wonderful night of music, celebrating not only John’s musical legacy, but also the enduring power of rock & roll.

Set List:
Hey Tonight
Born On The Bayou
Good Golly Miss Molly
Penthouse Pauper
Graveyard Train
Keep On Chooglin'
Joy Of My Life
Green River
Who’ll Stop The Rain?
I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Lookin’ Out My Back Door
Mystic Highway
Ramble Tamble
Hot Road Heart
Long As I Can See The Light
The Midnight Special
Have You Ever Seen The Rain?
Oh, Pretty Woman
Down On The Corner
Up Around The Bend
The Old Man Down The Road
Fortunate Son
Bad Moon Rising
Proud Mary

Here are links to John performing "Fortunate Son" with Foo Fighters:, "Looking Out My Back Door" and "Wrote A Song For Everyone," with Miranda Lambert, from the album of the same name, And here's a link to a previous post containing a review of Wrote A Song For Everyone:

Next time: A visit to Room 237

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