Thursday, July 19, 2007


What a show! We all know (I hope) how good John Fogerty really is at writing a catchy hook, a hit song, a brilliant melody. Perhaps only Brian Wilson was ever his equal in this regard. But until last night I never knew what a sensational guitarist he was. CCR's songs are fantastic, two-minute sound bites that seem to come from some divine melody creationist somewhere behind the scenes, and not from the brain of just one man. Outside I Heard It Through The Grapevine, there are very few moments in the history of Creedence that showcase Fogerty's guitar at all. But wow! Can that man ever play, and can he ever entertain!

Last night at the Scotiabank Place, Fogerty put on a clinic. Not just a guitar clinic, but an enthusiastic, joyful performance that really solidified for me how unbelievable he was in his day, and still is. The man is sixty-one years old, and it's embarassing to me that I am less than half his age, and I have less than half his energy. He absolutely LOVED playing that concert. And I would have thought it would have been fairly boring for him, playing all the greatest hits and cranking out the same tunes night after night, but there he was, enjoying every minute he spent on stage. Every single song he played was instantly recognizable from the hook, which is a testament to the unbelievable catalogue the man managed to amass in such a short (relatively speaking) recording career. The only hook I didn't recognize right away was Lodi, because he used a different arrangement.

And loud! That crunching guitar, the voice...he may have lost a few notes in his upper register over the years, but he's absolutely as powerful as ever. Apparently, during his sound check, the security people asked him to turn down the volume some. I guess he complied, but as the show went on, the volume crept higher and higher until he was playing at the decibel level he desired. Almost a Who-level assault on the eardrums, but it was perfect. Not an obnoxiously loud show, like April Wine busting out their Marshall stacks at the Lone Star, but a fantastically powerful rock and roll performance, like The Who when they came through town. Some people need that kind of volume (Big Sugar comes to mind) to get their sound across, and some put more emphasis on volume than on quality (April Wine, I'm looking at you). And sometimes, a show does not NEED a massive sound to be great, but benefits from that level of noise simply by being so awesome that you need FULL VOLUME awesome to get the full effect, such that the show is still with you in your ringing ears a full...14 hours later as I write this.

Fogerty was that kind of show. One of the top five shows I have ever attended, up there with The Who, Bachman-Cummings, the Strokes, and B.B. King. He said this was the first time he'd ever been in Ottawa, and I certainly hope the crowd reaction to this show is enough to bring him back. Fantastic!


  1. What no Fiscalatio? Where they shower you with so much green you forget it was you were going to blow the whistle on...


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  3. My left ear is still buzzing! We had floor seats, row 11 on the aisle, and what a blast! I've seen so many concerts over the years, but this one, as you said, ranked right up there. It took me back to the 70's when concerts were all about the music - not fancy light shows or pyrotechnics, but just pure unadulterated music. The man must be doing something right to sound, look and play as he did. I hope he does come back soon. This one fan will be there again!

  4. No kidding! They sold just the lower bowls, so I hope everyone was close enough to see the show - no big screen, no light show, nothing but kick-ass tunes.

  5. Now you did it. You've slagged my favourite band, April Wine. In regards to their Marshall stacks at the Lone Star, that wasn't their doing. Their contract called for certain items to be provided by the promoter. But the promotor didn't come through. So, they had two choices, cancel the show or use their own system. They chose to do the show and use their own. As for volume over quality..........take a look at AW's history in Canadian rock. They have a lot of first. Sure, they may not be liked by one and all, but obviously by their sales figures and their continuing appearances their is a demand for them. Argh!!

  6. Fair enough. There is no crime in liking April Wine. I just like my hearing more. How can one understand a word when their ears are bleeding, I ask?