by JasonBryan / Jul 17, 2015 / 0 comments
Wednesday, 15 July 2015

John Fogerty, the legendary voice, lead guitar and songwriter for Creedence Clearwater Revival, came into town with his ‘1969 and More Tour’ on Wed, July 15th and rocked the Hollywood Bowl back to the years of peace and love. The opening act was Hearty Har who’s style is a throwback to the early days of rock and roll, with a sound that blends of Herman’s Hermits, Donovan and the Beach Boys. Just the right rock, oldies, and beach sound to make you remember how much better music used to be. The band features Shane and Tyler Fogerty who definitely took advantage of their father’s clout to get this gig. But everyone enjoyed them and here’s to wishing them the best to find their spot in the sun, after a life in the large shadow cast by their father.

In the intermission a video played with John reminiscing the 60’s and specifically 1969. Cut with archive footage of hippies and protests, the Vietnam war, and over a soundtrack that was pretty much Billboards best of 1969 (which is pretty good stuff). Seeing someone talk about music may be interesting, but all anyone wanted was for the band to take the stage. The lights dimmed and the audio level increased as Born on the Bayou filled the stadium, the crowd got excited, but then quickly realized this isn’t the band, its still a soundtrack, as the video monitor showed footage of Fogerty from 1969. Then, to no ones surprise, when it got to the chorus the actual band took over. It was a clever gimmick, a little off the mark, but everyone was excited to see the man they came to see on stage and the awkward transition was instantly in the past. Three of the seven CCR albums were released in 1969 so even if he truly stuck to that year he would have had a concert of hits to play. Instead, he spanned the entire CCR library and his biggest solo hits. Here is a link to his setlist from the show.

When your set list is chock-full of all-time favorites it takes a truly special moment to stand out, and here were some of the most memorable moments from the show:

1. After Who’ll Stop the Rain, keyboardist Bob Malone stepped up to the front for an accordion solo. It was fantastic, both the guy sitting behind me and myself being the foremost accordion experts in our section if not the world concurred that this was the greatest accordion solo of all time.

2. Fogerty played a slightly different guitar solo in Lookin’ Out My Back door, which was still in the box and true to the song, but gave it just a little more rock.

3. At one point he brought out racks of his guitars and joked that he catches a lot of slack for the size of his guitar collection and then quipped we’re not leaving till he plays them all. He also gave a brief demo of the distinct sounds produced by the different guitars. He featured a Les Paul with the exact same plaid pattern as his flannel shirt. Despite him stating different sound different guitar for every song, I felt he favored his Fender Telecaster as it was featured in at least a third of the songs. He went 80’s hair band metal for a minute, with both hands on the neck of his guitar, as he covered Van Halen’s Eruption for before turning it into Keep on Chooglin’.

4. Mystic Highway one of his newer songs featured an a cappella breakdown that lifted that song from the audience opinion of wanting to hear the classics instead of the new stuff, to thank god Fogerty is still making new music. It was funny to see the wandering attention of the crowd of a song they weren’t familiar with, to instantly snap to attention as they were hearing something new and awesome.

5. He plays the version of Lodi with his son Shane from his Wrote a Song for Everyone duets style album that came out a couple years ago, which is a more bluesy version than the CCR original.

6. John sat down at the piano and played a little Jerry Lee Lewis’ Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On and then Gary Bonds’ New Orleans before doing a fantastic soulful rendition of Long as I Can See the Light.

7. When he first went into Heard It Through the Grapevine I was hoping this isn’t the 15 minute version, the Hollywood Bowl won’t let bands play over, but as they extended the song(and not for a full 15) and Kenny Aronoff (drums), Bob Malone (Keyboards), James Lomenzo (Bass) did their solos, your reminded that the best only surround themselves with the best, and the best will always rock your socks off.

8. There was a spot where Lomenzo and Fogerty were squaring off and it was so apparent how much fun they were having. All the precision instrument playing in the world doesn’t translate to the audience half as well as the overpowering joy of pure fun. Fogerty genuinely looks like he’s enjoying playing every note of every song. Maybe it’s the years spent when he wasn’t allowed to play his old CCR stuff that puts that grin on his face, or maybe he’s just is so proud of each one of his achievements that he beams at the chance to relive them.

9. I was also blown away by how he deliberately would make songs sound exactly like they did in 1969. It was an era where the techniques of recording were just as experimental of an art form as the rock and roll being recorded, and now with a turn of a nob it can sound clean, but he deliberately makes the songs sound the way the sounded when you first fell in love with them.

At 70 years old John Fogerty is not just fronting the band he is leading the audience in a fun filled experience jumping up and down and running across the stage, always with a smile and slinging a fast rocking lead guitar. As a friend of mine put it, “That was awesome, I didn’t expect him to have so much spunk.”

Rating out of 11: