There is an old saying that goes “If you remember the 60s, you weren’t really there.”
Last night at the South Okanagan Events Centre, John Fogerty proved he was there, and remembers it quite well. Well, one year in particular at least.
Oh what a year it was, 1969, and I’m sure roughly half the crowd that made up the absolutely packed SOEC on Thursday night were much like me back then, not alive.
Thankfully, for those yet to be born, the show opened with a short documentary-style video showcasing the innumerable events that took place in music history — The Beatles performed live for the last time, Led Zeppelin debuts their first album, John and Yoko spend a lot of time in bed, Woodstock brought a lot of attention to a pig farm and, of course, Creedence Clearwater Revival releases three albums and dominate the airwaves.
Suddenly, the lights drop and the big curtain draping the stage starts showing larger-than-life footage of a young Fogerty playing Born on the Bayou, but something is different, the music sounds a little louder. The curtains drop, fireworks go off, past turns to present and there’s Fogerty wailing away like he hadn’t aged a day.
The scheduled two-hour show pushed closer to three, and I’m sure there weren’t too many complaints from fans who rocked out to every CCR hit from Suzie Q to Down on the Corner.
The quick, radio-friendly song length that CCR had down to a science in ’69 made for an exciting, punchy first half showcasing the sheer amount of hits the band produced, which when seen back to back boggles the mind as to how they were all produced in one year.
The show took on the form of a living documentary, with 10 screens surrounding the stage showing footage and beautiful art designs that would paint a portrait around each song whether it was stereotypical psychedelic hippie flowers, lava lamps or vietnam footage.
Every once in awhile, Fogerty would slow things down to talk to the crowd about his experience in 1969. He gave insight into his experience at Woodstock, including his best attempt at a Jerry Garcia impression, and even brought out his guitar stand, turning the show into an impromptu guitar lesson on the different attitudes and feelings each guitar brings to a song.
Around the halfway point (there was no intermission in what must be a marathon for the performers) Fogerty snuck in to the middle of the floor crowd giving fans closer to the back a bit of a treat, bringing his son up to the platform to shred solos at arms length from the crowd.
The second half saw some variety, as opposed to the bang, bang pace at the start of the show, including a drum solo that made me tired just watching.
Fogerty sat down on the piano while fog flooded the stage for Long as I Can See the Light taking us through his own evolution from banging on the keys as a kid, to learning his first rock songs.
It was back to that bang, bang pace I mentioned earlier to finish off the night. With the crowd screaming for the inevitable encore, which Fogerty delivered with Proud Mary and a rain of confetti.
For those of us who weren’t there, it was a trip through a musical era gone by. For those who were, it likely woke up some long lost memories.