Legendary swamp rocker John Fogerty rocked a near capacity crowd at Prospera Place on September 28.
It was Fogerty’s second appearance in the Okanagan in as many years – last summer he performed at the Vernon Speedway in a widely appreciated show.
Thursday night’s crowd at Prospera Place got everything they were hoping for, and more, in an energetic, slickly put together show that featured multiple video screens centring on Fogerty and a constantly changing backdrop of segmented screens behind the band that offered video clips, colours and images that went along with each song.
Fogerty appeared to have found some inner peace after some tumultuous years following the breakup of Creedance Clearwater Revival and a long running dispute with his record company in the 1970s and ‘80s. He was a congenial host, complimenting Kelownians on the natural beauty of the area, and taking the time at a couple of junctures to talk to the audience.
In a recent interview with Fogerty by the Edmonton Journal, he described his present situation:
“I’ve had some different paths through this life and am now at the point where I just think it’s wonderful that I get to play music and that people still want to see me perform. I’m writing songs and playing guitar licks, and I’m glad that I’m in a line of work that allows me to do this at 67.”
That attitude was evident on Thursday night. He delivered a non stop, high energy show after what seemed like an overlength lead up, not taking to the stage until 8:40. A leadup video outlining highlights and facts about his career was interesting – Fogerty runs 10 kilometres a day, and still practises four hours a day, for example – but the presentation lasted too long.
Nonetheless, once Fogerty took to the stage, he had the audience wrapped around his masterful guitarist’s finger for a solid two hour plus performance. He started things off with the CCR tune, “Hey Tonight”, following that with several other easily recognizable CCR hits before moving on to some solo material, interspersing recognizable mainstream hits with other work that hasn’t generated the airplay it should have.
Leading up to the CCR hit “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” Fogerty described the inspiration for the song, coming after performing at Woodstock after having their set time moved from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., following a performance by the Grateful Dead. One lone member of the audience, still awake, shouted encouraging words to Fogerty, who wrote the song in the days following.
One could probably attend a Fogerty concert several years running and not hear the same music twice. The veteran musician has a huge repertoire of songs to choose from, from the years with CCR, to his Blue Ridge Rangers albums and his solo career.
Flannel shirts, a Fogerty signature, were evident in the mainly late middle aged boomer crowd, mainy of whom were on their feet from the first song. One woman insisted on dancing most of the evening away in the aisle -while still on crutches.
The evening ended after a three song encore – which included my all time favourite Fogerty song – “Bad Moon Rising” with Fogerty’s playfulness evident in his rendition when he sang, “There’s a bathroom on the right” instead of “There’s a bad moon on the rise”- which is another Fogerty nuance.
He’s covered the North and South Okanagan now – hopefully he’ll complete a triple play at the South Okanagan Events Centre sometime in the near future.