Time Travelin’ Band! Fogerty brings us back to Woodstock and beyond
All photos by Andre Gagne. Note: Images are from John Fogerty's 2011 Bluesfest performance.
“Who’ll Stop the Rain?” Who else but John Fogerty? As the ponchos came off and the umbrellas went down last night at RBC Bluesfest, it was perhaps no surprise to one of this festival’s biggest crowds so far that the man who penned the tune managed to quell two days of off and on showers for a solid evening of classic swamp rock. Thankfully, the field at Lebreton Flats wouldn’t resemble one of those bayous.
Fogerty was ready to make us all part of his “Travelin’ Band”. The numbers 1969 flashed on the screen as though it were the dashboard of a time traveling Delorean ready to take us all back to days when a highly protested war raged in a land overseas, where if you were going to San Francisco you should wear some flowers in your hair, and to days when a little band called Creedence Clearwater Revival were flying high on a hit second album and about to land on the stage of a music festival called Woodstock.
“I followed the Grateful Dead,” Fogerty told the audience who could close their eyes and become part of those half a million strong shortly after midnight on Sunday, August 17, 1969.
“Grateful Dead took a bunch of LSD before they went on the stage. They got lost up there and after an hour of dead silence they started playing again. Then they were done and it was 2:30 in the morning. Everybody had gone to bed! I ran out and did my best to wake them up,” Fogerty recalled of how the Dead’s long set delayed CCR's and, by the time they got out there, it seemed like they were playing to just one guy flicking a lighter out in the darkness.
Well, at least he got one of the best known tunes in rock out of it as, afterwards, with tensions mounting within the band, Fogerty went home and penned the lines:
Heard the singers playin’, how we cheered for more
The crowd had rushed together tryin’ to keep warm
Still the rain kept pourin’, fallin’ on my ears
And I wonder, still I wonder who’ll stop the rain?
From Yasgur’s Farm in ’69 to 1970’s psychedelic journey on “Lookin’ Out My Backdoor”, then over to listen to Willy and the Poor Boys play “Down on the Corner” after we all got stuck in “Lodi” again, Fogerty and his band took us by way of classic CCR down memory lane. The journey kept coming back to that magic year in the 60’s, though, when CCR had three top 10 hits, albums that would hit multi-platinum status and, oh yeah, they even outsold the Beatles.
Andrea Petersen, a Fogerty fan, could have stayed on the time travelin’ trip all night.
“I’ve seen him a few times in concert and it just brings me back to my youth,” she said. “There was so much music then and he’s one of those artists that brings you back to where you were at the time.”
Her partner, Greg Thompson, arm draped around her shoulders, nods, adding: “I grew up with him. I just love the soul that comes out of that music.”
Fogerty was joined on stage by his son Shane who showed the apple didn’t fall far from the tree when he rocked out some wailing guitar solos of his own. Having the approval of your dad is one thing, but the younger Fogerty recently revealed how important it was when, at 14 years of age and jamming CCR tunes with his garage band, his father poked his head into the session and said: “That sounds just like the record!”
It did tonight, as well, when that slice of possible rock future was playing the tunes of rock’s past. Listening, you understand just what Andrea Petersen was talking about. You get caught up in those times, that music, even if most of the crowd wasn’t alive to actually be part of when you could hear CCR for the first time.
It’s hard to believe that the chapter for the group only lasted five years. The band split in ’72 and if you’re looking for a reunion you best keep on looking. These days CCR is still at odds with lawsuits for trademark violations being dropped on Fogerty by former bandmates Stu Cook and Doug “Cosmo” Clifford and Fogerty retaliating with a suit of his on over unpaid royalties.
Still, we’ll always have the music of ’69 and those brief stops on the road afterwards. Tunes like “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”, “Fortunate Son”, “Bad Moon Rising” and “Proud Mary” will live on no matter what band is playing them and they’ll sure get people feeling good like they did last night at Bluesfest.
People like Greg and Andrea, holding each other and swaying to the songs that sprout memories like seeds, or that woman hanging off the fence who may have been on the same stuff the Dead dropped at Woodstock, or the guy in the CCR t-shirt dancing a dent into a spot on the grass that, for this moment in time, belongs to only him. There with those “barefoot girls dancin’ in the moonlight”, tonight, with a “Ramble Tamble” we were all riders on a train taking us “back down where cool water flows”.
- Travelin’ Band
- Green River
- Born on the Bayou
- Who’ll Stop the Rain
- Lookin’ Out My Backdoor
- Ramble Tamble
- New Orleans (Gary U.S. Bonds cover)
- I Heard It Through the Grapevine (Gladys Knight & the Pips cover)
- Keep on Chooglin’
- Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
- Down on the Corner
- The Old Man Down the Road
- Fortunate Son
- Bad Moon Rising
- Proud Mary
Ottawa Life’s Festival City Series will provide a unique look at some of your favourite summer events.We’ll go beyond the music with artist interviews, volunteer profiles, concert reviews and spotlights on the tastes, sights and sounds of the festival season. Your city! Your festivals! Your summer! Like a good sunscreen, Ottawa Life has you covered.