I saw John Fogerty in concert last night...

…and was completely blown away. He was the headliner at the Houston rodeo last night, and I scored some tickets right down at floor level, seven rows back.

As background, I’m a fan. I think he’s a great singer, an outstanding, underrated guitarist and one of the four or five greatest American rock and roll songwriters. However, he’s 60, so I went in prepared for disappointment. Instead, I was treated to one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to of any size (I’m not normally a fan of stadium shows).

The selection of songs couldn’t possibly have been better: he played a dozen Creedence Clearwater Revival originals - all classics - two of his biggest solo hits (“Centerfield” and “Rock and Roll Girls”), two familiar covers from the Creedence days (“Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Midnight Special”), and one song from his newest album, the anti-Iraq War tune “Long Dark Night.” This last tune drew a slightly mixed reaction from the crowd at the rodeo, as might be expected.

The band was tight, note-perfect and extremely well rehearsed. They sounded slick, not in a 2005-Rolling Stones-esque “15 people onstage, two more guitarists behind the curtain” way, but just very bright and shiny. The drummer was Kenny Aronoff, who’s been with him for at least 15 years, but the rest of the band was new to me and looked young.

The element of the show that really, really blew me away, however, was Fogerty’s voice. The years have generally not been kind to rock singers of the 60s and early 70s - Dylan’s decline is well documented, but even guys like Robert Plant seem to have lost a step, vocally. Not so, John Fogerty. The guy still has a tenor that could cut glass. He absolutely nailed every note, including some pretty demanding parts. “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” and “Up Around The Bend,” in particular, gave me chills.

Anyway, if you’re a fan of great American rock and roll, played by a real band rather than a Vegas revue, I can’t recommend Fogerty’s current tour highly enough. One of the best performances I’ve seen in years.

Fogerty is one of the best live performers touring. Ever since he gained the rights to do CCR materials in his shows, he has been killing.

I saw him at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion (also in Houston), which is a smaller outdoor pavillion with a big grass hill that serves as general admission.

He opened for John COUGAR Mellencamp, and like OneCentStamp, I was not expecting much. I was a CCR fan, but I was going for Mellencamp. Plus, like the man said…dude is 60.

I was blown away. Which was good because Mellencamp stunk.

After that performance, Fogerty was invited to play the Rodeo. This was his second year.
His first performance was one of the best reviewed Rodeo performances ever. I haven’t looked this morning for the review of last night’s show, but I’m guessing it will be just as glowing.

Anyone who gets a chance to see this guy live should take it. He is probably a top five live performance for me of all time. (Everyone is about to move down a spot as I am seeing Springsteen live for the first time next month!)

Can you elabortate on this? I didn’t know there were any restrictions on what any artist could sing at a concert?

Here’s a decent summary. Basically, it isn’t so much that he wasn’t allowed to play his CCR material, but he refused to for as long as he was in battle over the rights to his recorded catalog.

Yeah. It was laregly a legal/contractual issue, not a copyright issue. Anyone can play or record pretty much any song they wish as long as they are willing to pay royalties and publishing fees. Using the phrase “gained the rights” was intellectually lazy of me. Mea Culpa!

Fogerty was handed a different guitar for each of the first six songs he played. He then rotated guitars throughout the rest of the evening. I saw:

- Ernie Ball Axis, flame maple top in teal. Used for harder rock tones.
- Gibson Les Paul, goldtop with P-90s.
- Gibson Les Paul Custom, black with humbuckers. Looked like a '57.
- Ernie Ball Silhouette, which he basically used as his “Strat.”
- Paul Reed Smith Custom 24, with a humbucker, a single coil and a soapbar.
- Taylor acoustic, non-cutaway. Sorry, I’m not good with acoustic models.

Each guitar sounded fantastic through the mains. There were plenty of Marshall Plexis (reissues, I think) onstage, as well as a couple of Ampegs.

Damn. I’ve been a Fogerty fan since his CCR days. I have his newest album “Revival” and I agree 100% that the man’s still got it. That album sounds the closest to a Creedence album that you can get. I imagine his concerts are a night of magic.


The review from the Chronicle. As good as expected.

Small nitpick: John is 62, almost 63. He is however, awesome. I’ve seen him 4 times in the past 5 years or so. He has so much energy and talent.

Heh. Then he was 60 when I saw him!

Fogerty seems like a good guy in person. I saw him wayyy back in the late 60’s, and he was very personable, talked to people in the audience, and just seemed very laid back.

I also caught one of his shows on TV some years back. He kind of poked a little fun of his own song and sang “There’s a bathroom on the right” and pointed off to the side. :slight_smile:

For a long time, CCR’s old manager, Saul Zaentz, held the rights to many of CCR’s songs, which is why Fogerty refused to play them. It’s also why he wrote the song “Zaentz Can’t Dance,” which told the story of (literally) a thieving pig named Zaentz.

To make the story odder, when Fogerty recorded the song “The Old Man Down the Road,” Zaentz thought ti sounded a lot like the old CCR song “Run Through the Jungle,” and sued Fogerty for copyright infringement.

In other words, Fogerty was sued for “stealing” a song he himself had written (but didn’t hold the rights to)!

Bless you.

He’s known for knowing his guitars and having a solid collection of great tools. Surprised to see so much Ernie Ball stuff. I think of him as a Les Paul / Tele kinda guy…

And yeah - he’s the Roy Orbison of his generation - somehow his voice has not aged. Surprising to my ear because I assumed his timbre was based on some compromise in technique - but if that were so, he’d never have been able to maintain it…

Yeah, he pulled out the EB Axis - keep in mind that this was the Eddie Van Halen model before EVH jumped to Peavey - and actually played a few bars of “Eruption” before the band launched into “Chooglin.” It drew appreciative laughs and applause.

No Teles whatsoever. I was surprised myself. And no funky tuck-and-roll padded Kustoms. :smiley: