who’ll stop the rain?
I’m not quite Gen X, but I’m also not a true Boomer; this is probably why I crave odd indie bands but yet fiercely love the classics. I secretly believe that most of my precious indie rock friends really love that stuff but won’t admit it to anyone. Since I am, admittedly, completely uncool, I would do something like drive to Englewood, New Jersey on a Tuesday night to see John Fogerty.
I also absolutely believe that some artists are not only classics, but are mandatory. That they are so very basic that not at least being cognizant of the catalog isn’t cool or hip or trendy, it’s just stupid. Creedence Clearwater Revival would definitely be a band on that list. I mean, what’s *not* to like about Creedence, for heaven’s sake? If nothing else, it’s the greatest road trip music ever created. Period.
So for these reasons (amongst others) I was looking forward to seeing John Fogerty play with Springsteen on the upcoming Vote For Change tour. And when a friend pinged me on Monday, asking if I’d like to come with him to see Fogerty perform on A&E’s Live By Request on Wednesday night, there was zero question.
I knew that music-related TV shows suck to attend. I knew that no matter where we were in line or how long we waited, that our seats would depend on the whims of the production people and how pretty the rest of the audience was. (We were about five or six rows back in the balcony, so even if you taped it, you will not see me.) The only thing on our side was that the show was live, so we wouldn’t have to sit through endless retakes.
But that out of the way, the show fucking rocked. Fogerty’s voice is solid, the band was loud and tight and rockin. Yeah, it’s TV, we’re going to hear all the hits, we’re not going to hear anything obscure; yes, someone is going to phone and ask “Oh, is there any chance in the world that you could possibly play [insert his most famous song ever that even my 70 year old father knows]”. The majority of the crowd was thrilled to be there; and Fogerty himself was clearly overjoyed and in fantastic spirits.
The moment that it hit, for me, was “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” a song that I have heard almost everyone cover at some time or another. That was the moment where I truly felt – “I am seeing the guy who wrote all these fucking amazing songs actually sing them,” where I felt a connection to the music and the performer at the same time. But that was nothing compared to what would happen at the opening notes to “Fortunate Son,” which gave me actual goosebumps, made me shiver. The fact that Fogerty’s delivery of that song was likely as vehement as it was in 1968 just put it over the top.
Everything else that succeeded it was just a pale afterthought to me, and all I could think was, what on earth will it be like when Fogerty brings his A game to match Springsteen’s next week when the Vote For Change tour starts in Philly? Watch out.
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