"It ain't me, it ain't me--I ain't no fortune one!"
This was the line of the night.
The volume was too loud and the mix did not do justice to John's voice, but the performance was amazing, and I mean amazing, and one could hear him well enough during the softer numbers.
At the beginning of the show, a montage was shown on a screen of photographs of John from his entire life, culminating in shots of his family and life now. By the time he walked out on stage in a black shirt and black pants, the audience was primed and ready.
John's energy level was so high I can only imagine with awe what it must have been like over thirty (30) years ago. Based on what I saw tonight, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Jimi Hendrix must have been the two greatest acts the World has ever known, with Led Zeppelin third.
The crowd loved every minute of the entire show.
Suffice it to say that all the songs were great, all the performances were great (though he did start "Nobody's Here Anymore" with the SUV verse, asked "Now, why did I do that?" then started over), and the crowd just could not get enough, rising to its feet (and staying on them) several times, most notably for "Born on a Bayou", "Down on the Corner", "Fortunate Son", and "Proud Mary". There was an increasing amount of clapping, singing, and dancing as the show wore on.
For me it was a dream come true. "Born on the Bayou" just rocked, rocked, rocked. I felt those guitar chords vibrate my soul like a tuning fork in perfect harmony with his playing. I'd never felt music so deeply, so profoundly. It passed through me, became a part of me, and passed on. I felt lifted up. And John just danced and bounced around like a man being blown by the wind trying to regain his footing--when he wasn't jumping up and down like a man trying to kill a swarm of fire ants with both feet at the same time.
He said "Sugar-Sugar (in My Life)" was written for his wife.
He said "I Will Walk with You" was written for his daughter, which gave it an added level of poignancy.
I noticed a tendency he had to lick his thumb, wipe it on his shirt, and continue playing. I suspect this aided the friction necessary to play well. I also noticed he had some ear-piece in. I wonder what it was for.
During "Deja Vu (All Over Again)", the screen came down from the ceiling again, and another montage of scenes played: his daughter playing in their backyard, the LBJ commercial "Daisy", the Viet Nam War, the Viet Nam War protests, the Viet Nam War Memorial, John holding his daughter. It was very moving and powerful, as there were no shots of current events but everyone got the point. Lighters went up, and, in 2004, cell phones with little square LCD screens that served just as well as lighters.
At the end, after two technical difficulties in a row delayed "Bad Moon Rising", John said, "You ask if I do this for a living? Hell yes!" and launched into it.
I will have a song-by-song description of the show perhaps tomorrow, after the set list is posted to his site. For now I must sleep.
All I can say in conclusion is that if you haven't seen John Fogerty live yet, or if you haven't seen him live on this tour, you owe it to yourself to do so ASAP, for two reasons: he will not live forever, and he sounds as good as, if not better than, he ever did. It is truly amazing.
I was in an ecstasy. Thank you, John.
Pantages bottle of water: $4.00
Pantages Nestle Crunch bar: $4,00
Public parking across the street: $10.00. When we left, we learned that parking around the corner was $7.00. "You'd better shop around."
The man who sat on the other side of me at the show was a German man named Hennig, who had loved Creedence Clearwater Revival when they were out. He said "Green River" was the single when he met his first wife, that it always reminded him of her. He was devastated when they broke up. We had a good time bonding over music. His son and he have almost identical taste in music, he said, and often go to shows together (whereas it would have been "unthinkable" for Hennig's father and he to go to concerts together decades ago, he said). They have recently seen together Brian Wilson, the Rolling Stones, the Who, and U2. He said the Rolling Stones Staples Center experience was a miserable one, during which he paid the highest seat price for the top row around behind the stage, where one could not see anything and the sound was echoed. He said stadiums are just bad news, essentially, and that smaller theaters like the Pantages (2,700 seats) are far preferable. He didn't have to tell me--my wife and I have held house concerts in our home for the very reason that we feel the more intimate, the better.
As for the sound, we really expected better of the Pantages Theater. From the moment it started, it was too loud. Either everyone just grinned and bore it as I did, or my wife and I are just more sensitive than the others, but it was definitely more loud than I feel it should have been or had to be. At one point the keyboard was actually painful. If it had all been one degree less loud I would have enjoyed the experience far more, and I suspect everyone else would have too. It was as if we were all being assaulted with the sound, hit with a brick wall, when it should have been inviting us in. From the moment it started, the mix buried John's voice. There's not much to say about that, other than that, again, the rest of the instruments were too loud. If they'd turned everything else down a notch, it would have been perfect. But then, I come from the school of thought that believes lyrics are written and sung to be both heard and understood. That was a definite disappointment, and I think not just to my wife and me, but I think we all love John so much we just focused on the positive. As I say, the performance was so amazing that was easy to do.