|John Fogerty at the Toledo Zoo Amphitheater (photo: John Fogerty facebook page)|
Being too young to see CCR play, I waited... a long time. I didn't see John play live until the 1990s, and last night was still just my 4th show -- and two of the other 3 weren't full length performances.
In recent years, John has come around as an opening act for performers like John Mellencamp and Jimmy Buffett. No offense to those guys, but... really? I couldn't bring myself to pay money to see Fogerty in that role, not for artists I didn't especially want to see otherwise, not even this past Saturday when Fogerty opened for Buffett in Detroit and groupon was selling $150 tickets at an 80% discount. I'll stand being stuck in Porterville or Lodi with John any time, but oh Lord keep me away from Margaritaville. So it was a blessing when I saw a Fogerty date for Toledo, just 4 days afterwards, and more so when 2nd row center seats opened up online the night before the show.
|John Fogerty and band onstage at the Toledo Zoo amphitheater|
After missing -- and nearly not recognizing -- Lodi during the walk up Broadway Street, we finally made it to will-call (our tickets ended up being hand-scrawled notes on a piece of paper) as John and the band started up Lookin' Out My Back Door. Such a fitting song for a zoo! Especially for a zoo that actually has elephants.
Though I hadn't seen Fogerty in nearly a decade and hadn't been following recent setlists, I pretty much knew what to expect: most (if not all) of the Creedence hits, a few Creedence album tracks (often, the hidden gems), a few songs from John's 1985 comeback Centerfield album, and a scattering of more recent songs. After Lookin' Out My Back Door, the band played Hot Rod Heart, a sentimental cruising track off the 1997 album Blue Moon Swamp. At this point, anyone who hadn't noticed yet, and who wasn't paying too much attention to the various hotrods being flashed up on the video screen, would surely realize that yes, Kenny Aronoff is playing the drums of God. Besides Doug "Cosmo" Clifford, there is no one alive I'd rather see backing up Fogerty; Aronoff's very big beat suits Fogerty's songs that well.
|John Fogerty, Kenny Aronoff and James Lomenzo on stage in Toledo.|
Though in a sense the evening's centerpiece was its one new song, the reflective Mystic Highway ("Lately I begin to wonder / How it's all going to end / After all the flash and thunder / Then it's gone with the wind"), the show was mostly a romp through the hits, closing with the completely predictable -- and just as satisfying -- sequence of Fortunate Son, Bad Moon Rising, and Proud Mary. More than half of last night's 25 songs can be found on the Chronicle compilation. Better yet, all of last night's performances will be available for download from Fogerty's website by this time tomorrow.