John Fogerty, AVA at Casino Del Sol, Thursday, Oct. 18

It's no secret that because of long-running legal feuds with Fantasy Records, John Fogerty spent many years disavowing his Credence Clearwater roots. Thankfully, those days are long gone, as his set list now sports enough Credence material to fill a small boxed set. While these songs remain timeless, for the mostly 50-something (and older) crowd, this show was a mixed bag, at best.

As the lights went down, and the first strains of "Almost Saturday Night" came through, it was more than a bit odd to note that this wasn't Fogerty and his energetic six-piece band, but a recording from his first solo LP. Ditto at the end of the night when, after the final strains of "Proud Mary" faded into the night, a canned version of "Don't You Wish It Was True," the opening tune from his excellent 2007 release Revival, began playing. Why these tunes could not make it into Fogerty's 90-minute set is a mystery.

Equally disappointing was the omission of anything from 2004's politically juiced Deja Vu All Over Again, and Blue Moon Swamp, a 1997 comeback effort that won him a Grammy.

The other major issue was the sound. While it always takes a tune or three to dial in the mix, it was at least five songs in before the bass and drums became tolerable. Unfortunately, the level of Fogerty's electric guitar was never fully resolved; it often drowned out the keyboards and the occasional backing acoustic guitars. And the lyrics, unless already committed to memory, were difficult to decipher. Because of the over-amped sound, it was also challenging to fully appreciate Fogerty's way with the guitar. Primarily known for his songs and his voice—and at 67, he still sounds damn good—Fogerty showed off guitar chops many may not have realized he possessed.

In the end, it was about the hits: "Who'll Stop the Rain?," "Fortunate Son," "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?," "Bad Moon Rising," "Centerfield," "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and a truly beautiful reading of "Long as I Can See the Light," among others. It didn't exactly suck, but this beautiful autumn evening could have been transcendent.


More by Jim Lipson

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