John Fogerty @ Bell Centre – 12th July 2016

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Tuesday night John Fogerty took the stage at the Centre Bell in Montreal to a sell out multi-generational crowd that came ready to rock. Backed by an incredibly skilled five-piece band that included his son Shane (who papa Fogerty proudly told the crowd had just graduated from USC with a 4.0 GPA), performed a 21 song collection of his best known anthems spanning a 40 year career that shows little sign of slowing down.

Despite being 71 years old, the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman commanded the stage better than performers half his age. His vocals were strong and his legendary reputation on the guitar did not disappoint. With a catalogue of southern rock hits in his back pocket, Fogerty found little need for dancing, special effects, costume changes or fancy lighting arrangements. He let his music to the talking, and the crowd came ready to listen!

The setlist got off to a fast start with Travelin’ Band followed by Green River, Born on the Bayou and Who’ll Stop the Rain. By the time we were half way through the nostalgic setlist, Fogerty let his amazing band members share the spotlight. They were all given the opportunity to showcase their incredible talents with lengthy solos. However, the most notable solo performance came from the eccentric keyboardist Bob Malone who earned a rousing ovation from the crowd for his rhythmically propulsive style of playing.

As we got into the third act of the show one thing became abundantly clear to me. John Fogerty is one of the last men standing from an era of music that is sadly loosing its voice. He came up in a time when music was meant to change the world, and he and the singer songwriters of his generation did just that. However, with each passing year we are getting closer to the day the music will die.

In 2016 when nearly everything played on the radio lacks not only musical craftsmanship but a heart, John Fogerty’s third act on Tuesday night made me remember why I fell in love with music in the first place. A great song can paint a picture in your mind and transport you instantly into the narrators world. And as the man we have come to know as the Fortune Son hit the home stretch with such classics as Have You Ever Seen the Rain?, Down on the Corner, Bad Moon Rising and lastly Proud Mary, I felt privileged to be in the presence of an artist who’s songs are more than music, but rather pictures from his soul.

When the dust settled and the crowd made their way out of the Centre Bell there was a tangible vibe of positivity in the air. Fan’s were laughing, singing and smiling. Great music has that effect on people. The power of a lyric and a great guitar lick can bring people together like nothing else. Simply put, music transcends everything that pulls people apart. And in a world that is constantly stress testing the ties that bind us, John Fogerty’s catalogue of work is part of that foundation of great music that unites us all.

John Fogerty’s next performance will be at The Avalon Ballroom Theatre in Niagara Falls on July 14th.

Review – Randy Smith – Captura Camera

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