John Fogerty Live In Burnaby – August 2, 2007

John Fogerty
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Deer Lake Park
Burnaby, BC  Canada


***Live Review and All Photos By Lord of The Wasteland

It would take quite a show to trump the beauty of Deer Lake Park on a gorgeous summer night and former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman, John Fogerty, did just that.  A warm, humid August day turned into a perfect evening and the outdoor venue—the stage rightly set on the banks of Burnaby’s beautiful Deer Lake—was ideal for a show of this type.  Fogerty, concluding his summer tour here, pulled out all the stops before taking a well-deserved break and preparing for the release of his new CD, REVIVAL, on October 2nd.  With about five thousand strong in attendance scattered across the lawn, the hippies, bikers, senior citizens, yuppies, and young families toting infants and toddlers soaked up twenty-seven songs that covered Fogerty’s entire career from CCR’s 1969 release, BAYOU COUNTRY right up to a new track taken from REVIVAL.

John Fogerty

Kenny Aronoff

Matt Nolen (left); Billy Burnette (right)

Rick Santos

Fogerty and his stellar band—Billy Burnette (guitar), Hunter Perrin (guitar), Matt Nolen (guitar/keyboards), David Santos (bass) and Kenny Aronoff (drums)—were tight and delivered all the expected hits (except “Run Through The Jungle” and “Susie Q”) with all the swampy sparkle of the originals.  As a vocalist, Fogerty still sounds amazing, his 62 years apparently not tampering with his voice at all.  His band of accomplished studio and touring musicians reads like a who’s-who of rock and roll.  Santos has been a member of the touring bands of Billy Joel, Elton John, The Neville Brothers and Crosby, Stills and Nash, while Burnette is well-known for his rock-abilly band as well as his work on Fleetwood Mac’s BEHIND THE MASK and TIME releases from the early-nineties.  Talented up-and-comers Hunter Perrin and Matt Nolen may not be household names yet, but Aronoff is instantly recognizable as John Mellencamp’s long-time drummer, as well as from his extensive studio work with Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart, Meat Loaf, Melissa Etheridge and Alice Cooper. To say Aronoff is one of the best rock-and-roll-drummers today—if not ever—is an understatement.  Fogerty himself even stated at one point that Aronoff is “the greatest drummer in rock and roll.”  The man is simply outstanding to watch and he nails everything flawlessly. 

As the sun set over the roof before Fogerty & Co. took to the stage just past 8:00PM, Kenny Aronoff’s kick drum could be seen emblazoned with a guitar-playing bullfrog with a big grin on its face, perched on a pier in some dank, muggy swamp.  CCR’s music is often associated with the sludgy swamplands of America’s Deep South—an irony since CCR hailed from Berkley, California—and most of Fogerty’s solo material is based on the same slide-guitar-driven blues boogie, as well, so it was mildly humorous to think of 5,000 people waiting impatiently at the water’s edge to hear Fogerty run through his best-known works. Given this was my first time at Deer Lake Park for a concert, I was immediately impressed with the crystal-clear acoustics and overall phenomenal sound, a rarity for a large outdoor facility.  Moving between several vantage points throughout the show, there really was no “bad” spot in terms of sound but a clear visual was a different story altogether.  Looking backwards from the photo pit, the crowd seemed to go on forever up the lawn and once my two songs were up and I took to the lawn with everyone else, the band were miniscule on the stage.  There was no large projection screen used either, so unless you got within the first hundred or so feet from the stage, forget it. 

Poor sightlines aside, the crowd seemed euphoric throughout Fogerty’s two-hour performance.  Playing an impressive twenty-seven songs, barely a stone was left unturned.  “Fortunate Son,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Proud Mary” and “Travelin’ Band” are set staples but dusting off little-heard CCR gems like the rollicking “Ramble Tamble,” given an extended jam here, “Cotton Fields” and the four-guitar unison of “Bootleg” kept things interesting.  Amazing versions of CCR classics like “Green River,” the slide-guitar heaven of “Born On The Bayou,” the country-fied “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” and the southern stomp of “The Midnight Special” kept people dancing.  Fogerty’s take on Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly” and The Temptations’ “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” were just as interesting as the former’s rock and roll shimmy remained intact while the latter featured Matt Nolen’s prominent electric piano and a guitar lovers’ dream jam between Fogerty and Burnette during the extended solo.  Ever the protester/activist, Fogerty’s verbal introductions of “Déjà Vu (All Over Again)” and “Don’t You Wish It Was True” must have sent many people into a flashback to 1968 as the parallels drawn between the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq were indisputable.  For all his social commentary, Fogerty’s most personal remarks came before “I Will Walk With You” which the singer recalled was penned for his eight-month old daughter as she was still learning her first steps and is his “favourite song he has ever written.”  Not forgetting his lengthy solo career, Fogerty played tried-and-true favourites like “Rock and Roll Girls,” “Centerfield,” the perfect song for a summer night, and a blistering version of the track he was sued for plagiarizing himself on by his former label, “The Old Man Down The Road.” 

Travelin’ Band
Green River
Who’ll Stop The Rain
It Came Out Of The Sky
Born On The Bayou
Lookin’ Out My Backdoor
Rambunctious Boy
Cotton Fields
I Will Walk With You
Ramble Tamble
The Midnight Special
Déjà Vu (All Over Again)
I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Have You Ever Seen The Rain?
Don’t You Wish It Was True
Keep On Chooglin’
Down On The Corner
Rock And Roll Girls
Good Golly Miss Molly
The Old Man Down The Road
Up Around The Bend
Fortunate Son
Bad Moon Rising
Proud Mary

Without a shred of the iconic reverence that should accompany an artist with even half of the history and credibility of John Fogerty, the singer took the time to thank his road crew, his band (“the best group of guys I have ever played with”) and his family for making his summer jaunt such an enjoyable and successful one.  I think I can safely speak for many in the Canadian cities Fogerty has never played in until this tour by returning those blessings.  A beautiful night, timeless music played by legends and consummate professionals and shared with a few thousand close friends…what could be better?

***Thanks to Kelli at Live Nation for the press pass.

John Fogerty—Official Site



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