When a new live album from one of rock n roll’s greatest songwriters hits the stores, it’s something to savour and ‘Live At Red Rocks’ is a recording overflowing with musical riches.
Whilst some of Fogerty’s contemporaries are often content to ‘phone it in’, not so John Fogerty. His passion and genuine love of his craft create an on-stage energy – the results of which are a set-list that is damn near perfect. and boy, what a set-list this is. The hits he’s written are staggering and the album – recorded recently at Colorado’s Red Rock Amphitheatre – was a stopover on his long American tour, which celebrated his 50-year career.
A vibrant ‘Born On The Bouyou’ kicks things off and although only one song in, you know that Fogerty and his band mean business. No time for chasin’ down hoodoo’s either, as ‘Green River’ quickly follows and the audience greets it like an old friend. It’s astounding to ponder that fifty years back it was kept outta the number one slot in the U.S charts by The Archies ! Nice one Jughead. ‘Lookin’ Out My Back Door’, ‘Susie Q’ and ‘Who’ll Stop the Rain’ are up next and are a triple treat you won’t find anyplace else these days. If you are not up dancin’ by now you should check your pulse. People tend to forget that in 69, Creedence Clearwater Revival released three – count em three, of the biggest ever albums in rock, all in the same year ! Incredible. Australian fans would get to experience the band live, when they performed here in early 1972, a tour which also included New Zealand. We, like so many others, would have to patiently wait another 26 years until John Fogerty jetted back down under, when he brought the wonderful ‘Premonition’ tour here. (As a side note, I cannot recall a bigger ‘one-two’ punch in recent times than the Blue Moon Swamp (1997) / Premonition (1998) albums. Can you ?) I’ve gone on record as saying that ‘Premonition’ (which went Gold here) is one of my all-time favourite live recordings, yet upon hearing ‘Live At Red Rocks’, I’m forced to re-think that. The riff-heavy ‘Up Around the Bend’ is another highlight as is ‘Fortunate Son’ – both tracks which never seem to age. They really don’t. In recent times, both Fogerty’s sons Shane and Tyler – accomplished musicians in their own right, have joined their father on stage to perform – and it’s a sure sign that rock n roll is in safe hands folks. If I’m pressed, I’d go with 1985’s ‘The Old Man Down The Road’ as another album highlight cos it sounds just as gritty and glorious as when it was released. With such a large back-catalogue of riches, it must’ve been near impossible to decipher what made the final cut – yet I’d somehow be making room for tracks like Premonition and Almost Saturday Night as well.
’50 Year Trip: Live At Red Rocks’ gets the big two thumbs up from me. It’s loud and laden with vibrant sounding rock n roll classics. It’s actually damn near close to live rock n roll perfection and if you know of anyone who has lost their faith in rock n roll, this is the album that can restore it.
Out now via digital platforms |CD and Double LP release 24 Jan 2020 via BMG | johnfogertyshop.com/store