Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Once again, John Fogerty put on one of the best shows in Ottawa last night at Scotiabank Place. Just like the last time he was here, he ran through a ton of hits, barely talked, and looked like a gleeful schoolboy as he rocked the place. Kicking things off with "Travellin' Band" and firing off a series of huge singles, the crowd was singing along and rocking out to every single tune.

Until about eleven songs in, when he switched things up to play several songs I didn't recognize. I wasn't the only one who was impatient. A guy behind me kept yelling "play Cotton Fields!" during the five-or-six song downtime. And it really is downtime. I hate to say it, because I'm not normally a Greatest-Hits concert guy. I don't want to go see Springsteen play "Glory Days" and "Dancing In The Dark" and all his big ones. I like to hear some obscure album tracks in there, and even some stuff I don't know. It adds to the show.

But it doesn't really work with Fogerty. Here's a guy who might be the greatest singles writer in music history, and that means he has about sixty truly classic tunes he can turn to when he wants to get the crowd up and going. And I can't fault the guy for wanting to play something different every now and then. But you get so keyed up when you're hearing "Bad Moon Rising" and then "Looking Out My Back Door" and then "Suzie Q" and one hit after another that not recognizing the songs, and not being able to sing along really takes the wind out of the sails of the crowd.

Then, of course, Fogerty brought them back roaring when he pulled out the baseball-bat guitar to do "Centerfield", followed that up with "Old Man Down The Road" and tore through several more giant hits before closing the show with "Fortunate Son". By that point the entire crowd seemed to be on their feet, singing along and swaying to the classic tune, and when Fogerty left the stage immediately following that song, it almost seemed like the perfect end to the show, leaving on an incredibly high note. But of course, he had yet to do "Proud Mary" and a couple of other songs, so he came back for the obilgatory encore.

Still a fantastic show, Fogerty leaps around the stage with an incredibly intense energy and infectious enthusiasm that can't help but drag people into the show with him. Many times, he stopped to thank the crowd for singing along. He also, in a rather strange moment, pulled out a picture of Scooby-Doo that his seven-year-old daughter had drawn. He was very proud that she had been able to do such a good job drawing a cartoon dog free-hand. I'm sure it was exciting, for the eleven people close enough to the stage to actually see the 8 1/2" by 11" piece of paper. Bu for me, in the first row of the 100 level, it was kind of useless. No big screens, either, to show us ALL the Scooby-Doo drawing. But even that was presented with such infectious energy that I thought to myself "I bet that is an excellent drawing for a 7-year-old". No big screens, no explosions or crazy light show. Just boundless energy, great musicians, classic tunes and a great show. Come back soon, John Fogerty!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Eric, if you go to John Fogerty's Twitter page, you'll find both the setlist & a scan of the Scooby Doo picture.

    The drawing is pretty good for a 7 year old, though unless you knew in advance that it was Scooby Doo, you might not make that connection.

    As for the show itself, I was afraid that Fogerty might be unable to live up to the standard he set at the show in '07, but he may have pushed the bar even higher this time around!