John Fogerty, swamp rock maestro of the 1960s, basked in the love fest showered on him by an adoring audience at the sold-out show last Friday (Sept. 28) at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre.
From the first burst of light and Travelin' Band to the encore finale with Proud Mary, Fogerty and his ace band gave his audience what they wanted - classic, memorial rock songs from the heady era of Creedence Clearwater Revival and from his successful solo career that followed.
While the tour is ostensibly to promote a new collaborative album to be released this fall, Wrote a Song for Everyone, it was a night of nostalgia and emblematic music for the boomer generation.
There were plenty of white-haired geriatrics pumping their fists in the air along with the music, but there were also many younger faces in the crowd.
"I know this song - my parents used to play this all time," shouted a bubbly 20-something female fan.
Like Proud Mary, the hit songs just kept on rollin' - 29 of them over the two hour-plus performance.
Eager fans were on their feet from the start, dancing and singing along to the rock and pop hits - Who'll Stop the Rain, Centerfield, The Midnight Special, Born on the Bayou, and many more - like it was 1969.
He may be 67, and sporting dyed hair, but you couldn't tell Fogerty's vintage from his rock star jumps and agile romps from one corner of the stage to the other. The voice hasn't changed - Fogerty held nothing back to hit the high notes and to lift the emotion imbued in songs such as Long As I Can See The Light, or The Old Man Down the Road.
Along with the physicality, the man and the band were also on top of it musically. Fogerty the showman knows what his audience wants and has superb musicians to back up his talent.
Switching guitars for almost every tune, (he uses 25 guitars during the concerts) Fogerty fed off the positive energy of the audience.
The sound was great throughout the venue, and songs were augmented by strong video visuals on three giant screens - old home movies, Woodstock scenes, news clips of war and war protests, or abstracts to match the moods and to underscore the sentiments of the times.
It was plain to see - Fogerty loves what he does. He says in his opening comments that "rock 'n' roll is my favourite sound in the whole world."
The program masterfully led the audience through songs that are alternatively light and sweet, to dark and sultry, and included some covers from back in the day - Bo Diddleys' Before You Accuse Me, Marvin Gaye's I Heard it Through the Grapevine, and Roy Orbison's Oh, Pretty Woman.
The songs seemed so innocent somehow, such as Down on the Corner, but Fogerty's anti-war anthem, Fortunate Son, still carries an emotional kick that resonated with the audience, many holding up real Bic lighters in solidarity.
There were no doubt tears in many eyes through the night.
Fogerty is the real thing - if he comes this way again, don't hesitate to join the crowd to see him.