January 30, 2014
John Fogerty's musical modus operandi encompasses many different styles: Americana, roots rock, Southern rock, psychedelia, swamp rock, country, rockabilly, blues and popin short, good old fashioned rock 'n' roll. His songs read like the soundtrack of the past forty years: "Hey Tonight," "Who'll Stop the Rain," "Born on the Bayou," "Centerfield," "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?," "Fortunate Son," "Bad Moon Rising, "Proud Mary" and "Rock 'n' Roll Girls" are but a few of the songs that Fogerty has written and sung. On a very chilly and cold January evening, he and his band did their best to warm the enthusiastic crowd in Huntington, NY by offering virtuoso performances of each and every one of them.
Originally rising to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead guitarist, primary songwriter and lead vocalist of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fogerty's musical career began when he and his brother Tom Fogerty along with Doug Clifford and Stu Cook decided to form a band. The band's sound was influenced by Bo Diddley
, Little Richard
, Muddy Waters
, Lightnin' Hopkins
, Howlin' Wolf
, Elvis Presley
, Carl Perkins
, Hank Williams, garage pop, and the Sun Records sound. Originally called the Blue Velvets, the band signed with fantasy records in 1965, changed its name to the Golliwogs and released a few poorly received singles. In 1966, Fogerty was nearly drafted into the army, but chose to join the Army Reserves. After serving at Fort Bragg, Fort Knox and Fort Lee, Fogerty was discharged and returned to the band in 1967. Soon after, the band changed its name to Creedence Clearwater Revival, and John took Tom's place as lead singer for the band. And the rest is history.
Appearing on stage in his trademark checkered flannel shirt, Fogerty delivered a hits-filled tour de force that should be used as a clinic on how to stage a rock 'n' roll show. Rolling through hit after hit, Fogerty looked and sounded fantastic. With his voice sounding strong and powerful, and his guitar-playing spot-on, he held the audience (which included a number of locally based, internationally famous musicians) in the palm of his hand from the ringing of the first note through the thundering applause of the last encore.
The band treated the mostly middle-aged crowd in the packed-to-the-gills venue to an evening of exactly what they expectedfun, '60s-drenched rock featuring amazing guitar work wrapped up in what, for the most part, was two-minute mini-symphonies. Touring behind 2013's Wrote A Song For Everyone
(Vanguard Records), an album that features newly recorded versions of his classic songs while collaborating with some of the biggest superstars in popular music, Fogerty performed many of these songs on this evening. His tight band included his son Shane on guitar and Kenny Aranoff on drums, and made each and every song sound crisp, vital and fresh.
On this night evening, Fogerty and his band played a two-hour, twenty-two song main set as well as the two expected Creedence Clearwater Revival encore songs: "Bad Moon Rising" and the bouncing, rocking "Proud Mary." In addition to a number of his solo offerings, including: "Mystic Highway" (from Wrote A Song For Everyone
), "Rock 'n' Roll Girls" and, of course, "Centerfield," the night's performance also included another twelve CCR originals as well as Leadbelly's "Midnight Special" and "Cotton Fields," and the Norman Whitfield/Barrett Strong song, "Heard It Through The Grapevine" (all of which had been recorded by CCR). Another cover that found its way into the set was Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman."
Other highlights of the evening included the occasional elongated guitar solo, the rollicking opener "Hey Tonight," "Green River," "Keep On Chooglin,'" "Hot Rod Heart," "The Old Man Down the Road" "Long As I Can See the Light," and an angry "Fortunate Son" which closed the main set.
Fogerty and his band showed a passion for the music that was felt and absorbed by the audience members, who swayed, danced, sang along and rocked out to the hits that just kept coming. On this night many in the crowd relived a small part of their youth, but most of all, enjoyed the music for what it isan amazing catharsis that soothes the psyche and soul. Photo Credit Christine Connallon
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[Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon