On his fine new album, Revival” (Fantasy/Concord), John Fogerty sings “you can’t go wrong if you play a little bit of that Creedence song.” That’s usually good advice, but at the Nokia Theater, the man who created the classic Creedence template showed what can go wrong.
Things were so bad it could have been a comedy of errors. There were problems with the onstage sound, Fogerty was frustrated by a pair of balky ear buds, a microphone insisted on cutting out, the band was a little sloppy after a two week layoff. And then, around halfway through the nearly two-hour perf, Fogerty’s voice gave out.
Where early on he could navigate the dynamics of “Good Golly Miss Molly” or “Born on the Bayou,” during “Have You Ever Seen The Rain,” his fabled howl, as powerful and blood-curdling a sound as can be found in the classic rock vernacular, lost all power, and his croon was in tatters.
To his credit, Fogerty soldiered on — if nothing else, he’s a trouper — at one point explaining to the aud the he seemed “to have left my voice in my other suit.” But absent a strong vocal, the perf lost a good deal of energy.
His guitar playing, which often gets overshadowed by his singing and songwriting prowess, remains stellar, but could not counterbalance the evening’s distractions. He wasn’t helped by his band, who were having what one hopes was an off night.
With two, sometimes three guitarists (including the usually reliable Billy Burnett) besides Forgerty, the sound was flabby where is should be lean, at times turning (most notably on the instrumental turn-around of “Commotion”) sloppy. And although he is a fine drummer and he has played in Fogerty’s bands for some time, Kenny Aronoff remains a problematic presence for Fogerty — heavy and busy where the music demands snappy, crisp rhythms.
Shots on the video screens were never in sync or thought through, often a step or two behind the music — close-ups of the bassist during Fogerty’s solos, shots of his hands during the vocals and way, way too many shots of Aronoff.