Live review: John Fogerty @ the Buell TheatreBy Candace Horgan | November 17th, 2009 | No Comments »
About the time the security guard told me that not only was photography not allowed, but that John Fogerty would leave the stage if he even saw a cell phone in use, I’d decided he was a prima donna performer too wrapped up in his own ego to be worth much, proof that when you get to be a legend, you can be even more of a child.
Two hours later at the Buell Theatre on Monday night, sweaty and exhausted from dancing so much, I figured that if turning off my cell phone was the price I needed to pay for one of the best concerts of the year, it was easily worth the trade off.
After opening with a searing “Green River,” featuring an extended solo, Fogerty said, “We’re just here to rock out and have some fun!”
While Fogerty may not have made peace with the surviving members of Creedence Clearwater Revival, he at least has made peace with the songs, and he played many Creedence favorites to an ecstatic audience.
Fogerty also played a variety of material from his latest CD, “The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again” (sic), starting with a cover of “When Will I Be Loved,” which had excellent harmonies from Fogerty’s backing band. The material, rife with covers, borders on bluegrass at times, as on “Never Ending Song of Long,” which wouldn’t sound out of place at the RockyGrass Festival.
Fiddler Jason Mowery dazzled all night, and was really the only member of Fogerty’s massive backing band who challenged Fogerty’s presence on leads. During “Big Train (from Memphis),” Mowery started with a riff on the classic fiddle tune “Orange Blossom Special,” and he and Fogerty traded extended train-sounding solos at the midpoint of the song.
Fogerty riffed on several surprising covers, including “Garden Party,” with its wry line, “If memories were all I sang, I’d rather drive a truck.” He also introduced “Back Home Again,” by saying he thought it was appropriate to play a John Denver song in Denver, and John Prine’s “Paradise” by saying it was another song he learned from a John Denver album.
Fogerty showed off his guitar talents all night, taking long, extended guitar breaks. On the intro to “Keep on Chooglin’,” Fogerty played a solo replete with tremolo bar tricks and two hand tapping that would make Eddie Van Halen proud.
Of course, there were plenty of CCR songs as well. “Born on the Bayou” practically dripped with sultry, Southern soul. “Bad Moon Rising” and “Proud Mary” were pure delight, bring a smile to the face of everyone there. During “Old Man Down the Road,” every one of the four members played guitar, creating a massive wall of guitar twang.
Fogerty ended his set with a roaring “Fortunate Son.” With seemingly endless wars dragging on in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s hard not to find relevance in the song again.
Fogerty returned for a two-song encore, ending with a bouncy “Down on the Corner,” a fitting end to a great night of music. Long live John Fogerty (and his ego)!
Follow Reverb on Twitter! Here!
John Leyba is a Denver Post photojournalist and regular contributor to Reverb.