After a feud with his former Credence Clearwater Revival bandmates, singer John Fogerty refused to play classic CCR songs for years after the group’s split in 1972. But Fogerty has recently gone back to the CCR catalog. For this tour, dubbed "The 1969 Tour," he put the emphasis on playing the hits from the three albums that CCR issued that year.
That was good news for the fans that packed Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica last night as the tour swung through town. They were clearly there to hear the songs that Fogerty has refused to play. And the 70-year-old Fogerty, whose raspy voice still sounds as good as it ever did, didn't disappoint.
Fogerty, who remarked during the show that his career had an “incredible beginning” before seguing into a “strange and dark middle part,” was clearly enthused to be revisiting his glory days. “Hello Cleveland!” he shouted at the concert’s start, which featured boisterous renditions of CCR tunes such as “Born on the Bayou,” “Travelin’ Band” and “Up Around the Bend.” Before launching into “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” a tune that benefited from a beefy organ riff, Fogerty spoke a bit about what it was like to have performed at Woodstock and had a good laugh while he reminisced. Throughout the show, he would introduce songs with lengthy backstories. Sometimes, they added to the song. Sometimes, they didn’t. Regardless, Fogerty’s enthusiasm came across loud and clear. “We ain’t going home until I play every one of these guitars,” he said as roadies wheeled two carts of guitars on and then off the stage.
The two-hour show’s mid-section was heavy with cover songs as Fogerty followed up the swampy blues of CCR’s “Green River” with a raucous rendition of “Good Golly Miss Molly” that added some grit to the punchy Little Richard tune. Fogerty also turned Smokey Robinson’s “Heard it Through the Grapevine” into a vigorous jam before dipping back into the CCR catalog for “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?,” “The Old Man Down the Road” and the set closing “Fortunate Son.” During “Fortunate Son,” the pyrotechnics took over and flames shot high into the air. Given the fact that the classic song stands on its own, the pyro wasn’t probably needed, but it did help put an exclamation mark on Fogerty’s triumphant reclaiming of his past before he returned for a two-song encore that featured “Bad Moon Rising” and “Proud Mary.”
Through it all, Fogerty's terrific band didn't miss a step. It was especially fun to see hard-hitting session man Kenny Aronoff keeping time on the drums. He's one of the best in the business and he kept the 27-song set firmly anchored (and even turned in a vigorous drum solo during "Keep on Chooglin'").