Review: ‘John Fogerty’

Touring in support of a live album is always a tough road. To repeat the material that yielded the recorded effort suggests a performer standing artistically pat, yet an audience finds it that much easier to have expectations met. John Fogerty's unique position, however, finds him still reclaiming his classic Creedence Clearwater Revival songs under his own name, the therapeutic and financial returns proving the move a prudent one.

Touring in support of a live album is always a tough road. To repeat the material that yielded the recorded effort suggests a performer standing artistically pat, yet an audience finds it that much easier to have expectations met. John Fogerty’s unique position, however, finds him still reclaiming his classic Creedence Clearwater Revival songs under his own name, the therapeutic and financial returns proving the move a prudent one.

On “Premonition,” Reprise’s accurate chronicle of Fogerty’s full-fledged return to touring last year, the mix of CCR to solo Fogerty runs about a 60:40 ratio. At Tuesday’s sold-out show at the Greek, the last date on his North American tour that started in June, Fogerty dipped into every crevice of his career, much as he did at last year’s House of Blues show.

As well as he and his band can nail every recorded moment of his career, he finds a bit more country twang on “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” some more blues on “Wrote a Song for Everyone” and an extra helping of gospel on “Midnight Special” and “Working on a Building,” the latter culled from his understated 1972 gem of an album, “Blue Ridge Rangers.”

The remainder was fun and familiar: the unmistakable Creedence swamp sound abundant at every turn with songs that every bar band in America has been playing for more than two decades. The solo hits, too, have lost nothing over the years; “Centerfield,” “Almost Saturday Night” and “Rockin’ All Over the World,” and newer songs such as “Joy of My Life” and “Hot Rod Heart” are performed with confidence and brio.

Whereas Fogerty’s banter has drifted toward the forced and bubbly, his singing is terminably grounded, perfectly augmented by his array of guitars and the record-perfect basslines of Bob Glaub. Drummer Michael Cartellone is more of a free spirit than his rock-solid predecessor, Kenny Aronoff, which in the end benefits much of the looser material.

Since Fogerty’s return a year ago May, the promotional wheels have seemingly never stopped as he has been featured in high-profile music television programming in addition to heavily promoted tours. Wednesday he taped a seg for “Roseanne”; September finds him touring Europe; Oct. 1 he receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — let’s hope there’s time for a new record.

John Fogerty

Greek Theatre; 6,187 seats; $50 top

Production

Presented by Nederlander Concerts. Reviewed Aug. 18, 1998.

With

Band: John Fogerty, Johnny Lee Schell, Michael Canipe, Bob Glaub, Michael Cartellone, Oren, Maxine and Julia Waters.
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