Review: John Fogerty at the Save on Foods Memorial Arena

Former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman brings finishes his cross-Canada tour in Victoria.

John Fogerty brought the energy to Save on Foods Memorial Arena Sept. 29.

On the last night of a cross-Canada tour, John Fogerty, former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman, brought the energy, sound and all the hits to an eager Victoria audience.

At first, I was a bit taken aback at the grandeur of the show. Does Fogerty, one of the greatest guitar players ever, according to Rolling Stone, really need two rhythm guitarists? And what’s with the dozen video screens and raised platform where Fogerty is first revealed to the audience? Aren’t we all here for some down home swamp rock? What’s with the theatrics?

But in the end, it worked as Fogerty took the audience through a raucous set of all the CCR and solo career songs we may not even realize we love, but do.

You name it, he played it (except “Sweet Hitch-Hiker,” a personal favourite) and, frankly, played the hell out of them. Running from one side of the stage to the other, ripping out country-lick solos on his Les Paul Black Beauty, Fogerty worked for the audience’s love, and had it in spades by the encore of “Bad Moon Rising” and “Proud Mary.”

From a soulful, organ-filled rendition of “Long As I Can See the Light” to balls-to-the-wall screamer “Fortunate Son,” Fogerty both moved and attacked the audience with his brand of wall of sound rock.

At 67, Fogerty’s voice still has that biting, wailing grit that was truly the defining sound of CCR. That and his guitar prowess are what make Fogerty a true legend of late-sixties rock.

The songs of CCR are in our blood. They are deceptively simple, harkening the blues, country and soul Fogerty was raised on, but with an uncanny ability to drive straight to the heart of what makes rock touch our souls, all in an average of two and a half minutes.

The pre-concert history lesson video and some of the footage played during the show came off as a bit self-agrandizing, especially with lines about dropping out of the music industry after being hurt and betrayed. Let’s be honest, Fogerty was no saint when it came to the breakup of CCR.

But Fogerty has moved past all that. He’s now just here for a good time and to make the audience feel as though we were all there to rock out, maybe drink some shine down by the water and get ‘er done. And we all loved it. M

 

 

By Kyle Wells

arts@mondaymag.com

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