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Fogerty lives up to his past

Rockland Trust Pavilion, Boston, August 13, 2019

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Woodstock 50 may never have happened, but that original monumental event was certainly in the air at John Fogerty's My 50 Year Trip Tour before, during and after.

The before and after was in the choice of songs that came over the speakers including everything from Jefferson Airplane's "Don't You Want Somebody to Love" to The Archies' sweet pop gem "Sugar Sugar." Not to mention a couple of hippy dressed dancers, who started swaying to the music in the aisles and later were onstage.

As for the main attraction, Fogerty focused on his Creedence Clearwater Revival days. While in many ways, this was an oldies show - Fogerty played nothing post-"Centerfield," his 1985 gem solo album - he still had a lot to say with his music.

From a performance standpoint, Fogerty seems about as energized as ever. His guitar playing was top rate, including playing from the very same Rickenbacker he used at Woodstock. Fogerty's swampy vocal delivery has retained much of its highly identifiable delivery while not quite going for the highest notes.

The delivery was at full throttle and tight for a large portion of the 100-minute show - racing through the songs, but not leaving space to let them breath either. That would include "Born on the Bayou," "Green River," "Lookin' At My Back Door," "Susie Q" and "Who'll Stop the Rain."

After all these years, are the songs relevant or simply ear candy of youth? With songs like "Who'll Stop the Rain?," "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" and particularly "Fortunate Son" - not to mention Fogerty's persuasive delivery - the relevancy remains. That's the case even though Fogerty has said in the past that the rain songs were not about the Viet Nam War.

Ditto for the relevancy of several cover songs Fogerty played - "Everyday People" from Sly & The Family Stone and "Give Peace a Chance" from the Plastic Ono Band of John Lennon. In this day and age of great discord in the U.S., Sly's song of acceptance still rings true.

As the evening progressed, the band stretched it out, never better than on "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," made famous by Marvin Gaye and recorded, of course, by Creedence. Keyboardist Bob Malone was emphatic in his playing that took the chestnut to another level entirely.

Fogerty was smart in having veteran ace skins man Kenny Aronoff on drums for a few decades. Let's put it this way - he knows how to keep a beat. This was a bit of a family affair as well with Shane Fogerty also on electric guitar, turning in a very sturdy Hendrix-type reading of "The Star Spangled Banner." Another son, Tyler, came out to help on backing vocals on a few songs and danced away in the aisles as well.

Fogerty was an upbeat personality and humorous in telling a story about playing at Woodstock. He related how getting there by vehicle was not going to work with the road clogged. A flimsy helicopter took CCR to its gig where they were going to follow the Grateful Dead onstage.

The planned-for early timing of the set was not to be with the Dead onstage and on drugs, according to Fogerty. So much so that they stopped playing for an hour. Finally, at 2:30 a.m. Sunday, CCR took the stage to an unenthusiastic crowd except supposedly for one fan in the distance encouraging the band. CCR managed to survive.

Five decades later, ultimately, it was back to the hits for Fogerty of yesteryear, encoring with "Bad Moon Rising" and "Proud Mary," probably his best known songs with Creedence. Yes, they were comfort food, but he sure still made them sound good. The trip for Fogerty keeps rolling.