John Fogerty at the Mercy Lounge, 9/16/09
by The Spin
on Thu, Sep 17, 2009 at 9:35 AM
Currently, Fogerty is promoting his newest release, The Blue Ridge Rangers Ride Again
, which--like his 1973 solo debut--is a collection of country and rockabilly covers. Among the Ride Again
tracks were glittering versions of John Prine's "Paradise" and Ricky Nelson's "Garden Party," and foot-stompin' takes on The Everly Brothers' "When Will I be Loved" and Gene Simmons'--not to be confused with the guy in KISS--"Haunted House." Fogerty and his band played each with relentless spirit and heart-warming musical appreciation--which was fitting, considering that Fogerty is the 2009 recipient of an AMA lifetime achievement award for his own work.
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And then there were the Creedence classics: "Born on a Bayou," "Down on the Corner," "Who'll Stop the Rain," "Have You Ever Seen the Rain," and a closing epic trifecta of "Bad Moon Rising," "Fortunate Son" and "Proud Mary" that BROUGHT. THE. MOTHER. FUCKING. HOUSE. DOWN. There simply wasn't a bland moment in the set. He played 20 songs and none of them were George W. Bush's fave "Centerfield." We were blown away. Blown away his band--who slayed on every song--and by the man himself. Throughout the night, Fogerty's joy was palpable. "I am in hog heaven right now," he claimed midway through the set. His voice sounded as if not a day had passed since Green River
was cut, and each of his blistering guitar solos was a balls-out show-stopper. For any lover of rock 'n' roll, it was simply overwhelming to hear such indelible classics played so well and so joyously in such close proximity.
To say John Fogerty and his band are a hard act to follow would be an understatement of epic proportions, so it wasn't even fair to The Dexateens. They took it in stride, though, and came out swinging with all the barroom fury of roadhouse brawl. Their music is more Southern AC/DC than it is Americana, and consistent with that distinction, they were oppressively loud. Closing out the night were Those Darlins, whose brash pop-abilly was well received by an audience who had finally begun to come back down to earth after an ecstatic, once-in-a-lifetime rock 'n' roll experience.
We came to Mercy Lounge for last night's not-so-secret John Fogerty appearance at the AMA Festival expecting a mere 45-minute set of country covers and maybe a classic or two. Instead, what we got was a near two-hour onslaught of pure rock 'n' roll, played at the highest standard. Immediately upon stepping foot into the club, we could tell this "special surprise guest" appearance by the legendary Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman would be no casual affair: Fogerty and his crew had brought in their own P.A., monitors, consoles and microphones--basically the entire front-of-house and back line set up they would normally use for a 6,000-capacity theater. We were also told that he and his stellar backing band--which would include the likes of Buddy Miller, fiddle savant James Mallory and legendary session drummer Kenny Aronoff--spent three hours sound checking earlier in the afternoon. We couldn't help but feel humbled and giddy to be there.
While most artists who associate themselves with the term "Americana" make us curse the day Ryan Adams was born, a guaranteed Fogerty appearance made it worth sitting through one band (The Rustlanders) that sounded like The Black Crowes, as followed by another band (Band of Heathens) that sounded even more like The Black Crowes. Which we guess is totally cool if you like the Black Crowes. Judging by the number of bottled-blonde cougars and dudes who looked like Johnny-Drama-meets-Jesus-Christ we saw, it seemed there were plenty of folks in the house who were ready to shake their money makers.
By the time Fogerty hit the stage, the room was beyond critical mass, and the excitement level shot through the roof as we were collectively bowled over by the 64-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee's sheer star power. For many in the room, just having been there would've been enough, but the thrill was lost on no one. Immediately, hundreds of AARP members started losing their shit. Shirts came untucked, Dockers came off, air guitars came out and hands clapped feverishly off-time. It was quite the social security sock-hop.