Fogerty's clear revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival's frontman John Fogerty.
Creedence Clearwater Revival's frontman John Fogerty. Blainey Woodham

IF BLUESFEST is about musical authenticity, John Fogerty's set on Saturday night was a rolled gold example of what it means to be a musical legend.

The 67-year-old Fogerty and his five-piece band hit the ground running, launching into Ramble Tamble, the swamp boogie workout that is the lead track of Cosmo's Factory - one of Creedence Clearwater Revival's greatest albums.

John Fogerty was the lead singer and main songwriter of Creedence Clearwater Revival, a band that peaked from 1969 through to 1972.

Seen as southern rock stylists, the band combined rootsy country rock with politically aware lyrics.

The band's career petered out in the mid-70s but the music has remained popular, selling 26 million albums.

Saturday's audience was mostly baby boomers there to see Creedence at their peak, but some of the audience jammed into the MOJO tent were 20-somethings, born way after Creedence were in their prime.

John, a 28 year old from Sydney said, "If you love good music it's inevitable that you'll find Creedence's music. A lot of bands are just marketing; this guy is just so authentic."

In two hours -Fogerty played the legendary 1970 album Cosmos Factory then rolled out the other big songs.

Fogerty spent many years in the 1970s and 80s refusing to play his Creedence hits after disputes with former band members, managers and record companies, but these days he embraces his back catalogue, each night playing one of the classic albums track by track, followed by all his other hits.

At the end of Ramble Tamble, Fogerty gestured to the side of the stage for the volume of his guitar to be cranked up and then ripped into the album's subsequent tracks including Before you Accuse Me.

He seems to enjoy hearing the songs as much as anyone in the audience does.

His voice is still as sharp and powerful as ever and his guitar playing still elicits gasps from the rapturous crowd.

In the frenetic Keep on Choog- ling, he handed a lesson to all other would-be bluesmen on the art of blues harp and guitar playing.

The songs have never been off the radio and have never ceased to be a reference point for the musicians who came after them.

Fogerty kept his patter brief, but he stopped along the way to tell how the classic Who'll Stop the Rain came about.

"I went to Woodstock and saw a lot of wet and stoned people dancing," he said. "I left there and headed back to California and wrote a song about it."

Like most of Fogerty's songs it is deceptively simple, both musically and lyrically, but the song has always connected with the audience on a deeper level.

It tells a tale of a deep malaise within society that neither politics nor money can cure and all this is wrapped up in the simple metaphor of the unending rain falling on us all.

This combination of a simple memorable lyric connecting to a much deeper meaning is repeated in most of Fogerty's songs.

It's the one of the reasons his music is seen as being relevant and vital today.

Throughout the set Fogerty moved back and forth across the stage, revelling in the audience's joyous response to his music.

For an hour after playing Cosmo's Factory the big songs just kept on rolling.

He led the audience through a seemingly endless list of great songs including Bad Moon Rising, Willie and the Poor Boys, Fortunate Son, Midnight Special and Have You Ever Seen the Rain.

The whole show climaxed with a rousing version of Proud Mary during the encore and the audience departed under the light of an almost-full moon.

John Fogerty plays Green River in its entirety on the MOJO stage tonight at 6pm.

Topics:  byron bay bluesfest, creedence clearwater, entertainment, john fogerty, music



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