There was a hefty amount of nostalgia running through John Fogerty’s marathon concert at the Times Union Center on Sunday night. Before the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman came on stage for the two-hour-plus show, a backdrop screen displayed a montage of video clips and photographs from the ‘60s and ‘70s: flyers from sold-out CCR gigs and old interviews with Fogerty wearing various shades of flannel plaid and a mop of brown hair.
He hasn’t changed much since then: same hair, same flannel.
Fogerty opened the show with his back to the crowd, launching into “Travelin’ Band” as a blaze of pyrotechnics shot up from the stage — a slight nod to rock and roll flash in a show that didn’t have or need much of it. Instead, we got hits — 29 in all from his CCR days and solo career — bolstered by his powerful four-piece backing band, his still forceful voice and lots of impressive guitar work.
(An obsessive love of guitars may be about the only showy thing about Fogerty — and he appeared to strap on a new and different guitar with every tune.)
“We are here to present the album Cosmo’s Factory and also just to have a good rock and roll time,” Fogerty said before firing through Roy Orbison’s “Ooby Dooby” and “Ramble Tamble” — both tracks from the classic 1970 CCR album that the singer-songwriter played in entirety, although not in consecutive order.
He also gave fans — not large in number, as the arena was less than half-filled, but they were enthusiastic — interesting commentary on his well-loved songs as well as the classic blues, soul and old-time rock and roll covers that Fogerty managed to put his own stamp on.
Fogerty wrote the searing “Who’ll Stop the Rain” shortly after CCR’s set at Woodstock, when the band went on at 2:30 in the morning to a naked crowd put to sleep by the previous act, the Grateful Dead, he said. And “Green River,” played with joyous abandon by his band at the TU Center, was written about “a magical place” where his parents used to take him, he said.
The show hit many highlights — from the swampy “Born on the Bayou” to the harmonica-propelled “Keep On Chooglin’” — but the most transcendent moment may have come during “Long as I Can See the Light,” when Fogerty belted the gospel-tinged song while standing on a riser, bathed in light, candle flames flickering on the screen behind him, his voice gravelly and full of emotion. Shiver-inducing…
Greg Haymes’ review at The Times Union
Excerpt from Michael Hochanadel’s review at The Daily Gazette: “Fogerty’s songs have stayed short, strong and sweet — in the expert hands of drummer Kenny Aronoff, keyboardist Bob Malone, bassist James Lomenzo and guitarist Devon Pangle. ‘Travelin’ Band’ was both mission statement and road map: Fogerty sang nearly all of CCR’s Cosmo’s Factory, where ‘Travelin’ Band’ appeared in 1970, plus such late ‘musts’ as ‘Born on the Bayou,’ ‘Proud Mary,’ ‘Down on the Corner,’ ‘Midnight Special,’ ‘Keep on Chooglin’’ — and many more, because they were so crisp and concise. Most clocked in around three minutes, but Fogerty’s songwriting talent created complete rock ‘n’ roll worlds in each. ‘Down the Road I Go’ [“Ramble Tamble’] stretched out early, with no frills or fat, while ‘I Heard it Through the Grapevine,’ ‘Chooglin’,’ ‘Susie Q’ and ‘Hot Rod Heart’ also stretched but packed the vintage punch of 4/4 pulse-pounders, with few slower love songs to let off the gas. Fogerty’s booming, swampy voice — he favored New Orleans inflections even in non-New Orleans songs — showed a few cracks, but his even swampier guitar playing was seamless — strong, subtle and inventive.”
JOHN FOGERTY SET LIST
Travelin’ Band (CCR)
Ooby Dooby (Roy Orbison)
Ramble Tamble (CCR)
Lookin’ Out My Back Door (CCR)
Run Through the Jungle (CCR)
Up Around the Bend (CCR)
Before You Accuse Me (Bo Diddley)
My Baby Left Me (Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup)
Who’ll Stop the Rain (CCR)
I Heard It Through the Grapevine (Marvin Gaye)
Long as I Can See the Light (CCR)
Green River (CCR)
Susie Q (Dale Hawkins)
Joy of My Life
Hot Rod Heart
Born on the Bayou (CCR)
Keep On Chooglin’ (CCR)
Midnight Special (Lead Belly)
Rock and Roll Girls
Have You Ever Seen the Rain? (CCR)
Oh, Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison)
Hey Tonight (CCR)
Down on the Corner (CCR)
The Old Man Down the Road
Fortunate Son (CCR)
Bad Moon Rising (CCR)
Proud Mary (CCR)