John Fogerty has been on stage for decades, and it shows. Tuesday night at Northern Quest, he was equal parts relaxed and energetic – and seemed to be enjoying every minute of it.
He kicked things off with “Travelin’ Band,” and the video screen behind him showed bits and pieces of his personal history: concert posters, newspaper articles, family photos and videos.
As the song finished, he told the crowd, “We are here to rock and roll, so let’s get this thing started.”
And he did, running circles on stage at the beginning of “Hey Tonight.”
A couple songs later, as if to prove his cred, Fogerty introduced the crowd to a guitar that had been missing for decades, but a few years ago his wife found it. It was the guitar he played at Woodstock (drawing out the second syllable for emphasis). And, the amp, too, was used at Woodstock (same second syllable emphasis).
“I saw all that foolishness going on up there and then I came home and wrote this song,” he said, launching in to “Who’ll Stop the Rain.”
The family connection Fogerty introduced through pictures and video at the start of the show continued. His son Shane played guitar throughout the night, and son Tyler shared vocal duties on two songs, adding the screeches to “Good Golly Miss Molly.” Tyler also brought out dance moves that were only topped by his red suit, which was adorned with dragons, eyes, Mayan pyramids, flames, the sun and moon. (By the way, John Fogerty was wearing an equally cool jacket decorated with space-themed embellishments, like planets, comets and black holes.)
And though daughter Kelsy wasn’t on stage, she got a mention, too. About midway through the set, Fogerty introduced “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” by saying it’s a song that’s changed meaning for him over the years.
“Nowadays, it reminds me of my beautiful baby girl Kelsy,” he said. “Kelsy is a rainbow in my life, and this song has a rainbow in it.”
For the first half of the show, Fogerty kept up a casual banter between songs, repeatedly telling the crowd how much he loved them. At one point when his sleeve was getting in the way, he mumbled something about Janet Jackson and wardrobe malfunctions, eliciting giggles.
His talk turned more serious as he introduced “Love and War,” the song he wrote with Brad Paisley. He told the crowd he wanted to honor the veterans there that night. He was drafted during Vietnam, he said, but was lucky because he got to stay in the States.
As a country, “we do a lousy job of taking care of our veterans,” he said. “They lay everything on the line for us,” the least we could do is take care of them, he added.
Video clips of Paisley were used to create a duet, of sorts. Video of war memorials, service members, family and different people holding thank-you signs also played through the song.
The set list was heavy on Creedence Clearwater Revival songs – there was a time when legal battles meant he didn’t play them – with a few of his solo songs and covers thrown in the mix.
A Southern-inspired trio of covers sent the horn section led by a drum major through the crowd on the main floor in a faux New Orleans Mardi Gras parade. That amped up the energy in the crowd, and Fogerty kept it going with no breaks between songs for chatting.
He launched into “Down on the Corner,” followed by “Centerfield,” playing a guitar that looked like a baseball bat. “Old Man Down the Road” featured a solo from Shane, plus some back and forth between father and son. “Fortunate Son” ended the main set, with Fogerty playing a blue plaid guitar.
The encore brought Fogerty back out to play two of his most famous songs: “Bad Moon Rising” and “Proud Mary.” And as he said good night, after playing about two dozen songs, he looked just as relaxed and as energetic as he had at the start.
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