John Fogerty live at
Roskilde and Hamburg
In which Robert, Petra, Wolfgang and me trek around Europe to meet John and lots of other friends!
If you just want to read the concert reviews then click here. But if you want to see the pictures and read about our journey to see our main man, then read on!
You can click on any of these pictures to download a bigger version or go to the
Gallery Page to check them all out.
text and pictures by Wiebo de Wit
Wednesday, June 25
Off to Roskilde!
The day started early. We had arranged to meet in Bremen as this was the easiest solution. Robert Aerts would pick up Petra in Cologne and Wolfgang later on in Germany. After this they would ride north to meet me. I reached Bremen at 13:07 and had to wait so I took a trip around the city center. On the third floor in a large warehouse I discovered a cyber-cafe (can you believe this?) and went online for an hour or so to check for some news and kill time (my homepage looks like shit in Netscape 2 -I have to do something about this). I also checked the local CD stores for traces of Blue Moon Swamp but I couldn't find a copy. Bremen! Get your act together. :)
All went well except Robert got caught in heavy traffic and I had to wait until 18:30 before they reached Bremen. This was annoying but I was glad to see Robert, Petra and Wolfgang so I didn't think about this for long. We left immediatly for the boat to Denmark, which was a 2 1/2 hour drive... At 22:30 we were on the boat on our way to Roskilde, Denmark!
After 55 minutes we had reached Denmark and were on our way to Roskilde. This was a one hour drive which went very well, the festival area was easily found. We parked, looked for a place to camp (which wasn't easy, we had to walk for an hour or so to find a spot). After we had put up our tents we went inside to sleep, but not for long! We hadn't seen the powerlines under which we were camping so we had to leave. This was at two in the morning so we weren't very pleased but hey! what could we do? We finally went to sleep at 03:00.
Thursday, June 26
I woke up at 08:00 and found Robert up and running already. He had woken up at around five and he had bought us some bread. We decided to go visit Copenhagen because we had no business (yet) at the festival and Robert had arranged with Bob Fogerty to call him at John's hotel to see if we could meet them. So off we went! We drove to the hotel and called Bob from the lobby. He said they were exhausted and John was gone so there was nothing that he could do. Too bad, but understandable. He asked us to stand at the right side of the stage tonight where he would meet us. Cool! After this we visited Copenhagen to kill some time and get something to eat. Later that day, when we went back to the festival, it started to rain. Damn.
It was dry again when we reached our tents but during the performance of Radiohead (cool! excellent performance) it started to rain again. We decided to wait until Radiohead had finished before we would make our way to the stage, so this was a perfect time to but some T-shirts and scarves (they're cool). When Radiohead was finished the crowd moved away so we could easily make our way to the front of the stage. Bob Fogerty walked on stage so we called out to him. He notices us and he says "are you Robert?" Bob said that he arranged something after the show for us but after trying to shout to each other he left. Suddenly Robert got tapped on the shoulder. It was Bob. He had walked around and joined us in the crowd. We introduced ourselves and he was delighted to hear that we had traveled such a long way. He reached into his pockets and we thought "yes! passes" but no. Bob had a sore throat and he took out some candy. doh! After our little chat he left and we were thrilled that we could probably meet John after the show.
At 22:30 the lights went down and swamp crickets are heard over the sound system. So this is it: John's first concert on European soil in over 25 years! We can hardly believe it. We had made a banner which said 'HELLO JOHN, GREETINGS FROM BELGIUM'. When John starts to play 'Born On The Bayou' he walks towards our side of the stage, sees our banner, points to it and goes 'heeeyy!!'. Bob must've told John we were there! What a start! John looked fit and ready. He wore blue jeans, a blue shirt and a red scarf. The band sounded phenominal and they were really in to it. I could hardly believe that we were actually listening to a John Fogerty concert! From the first notes John was going for it, smiling and stamping his feet! There was not a big crowd when the show started but when all was over I guess there were at least 15.000 people standing there. John made a lot of new fans that day !! I expected a shortened festival set but they played a 2 hour show while rain was pouring down like nothing else, but we couldn't care less. When John walked on to the little catwalks and stamped his feet he let the water fly. Such a cool sight. He played 20 songs and if you want to read a more in depth review of the concert then go here. If you want to see more Roskilde pics then go to the Gallery Page.
After the show Robert, Petra, Wolfgang and me waited for Bob to arrive. He didn't show up and after half an hour we really had to leave because we were wet and it was getting really cold outside. We were dissapointed by this but we couldn't risk getting sick. We had to be in Hamburg the next day.
Friday, June 27
Rain, rain, rain and rain at 07:00... Mud everywhere but we are leaving and that's what counts. Luckily the rain stopped by the time we had to pack up our tents so we could do this and stay dry at the same time. We changed clothes in the car and off we went to Hamburg. Eventhough the organisation had everything covered, a festival like Roskilde is not something I wanna do again. It is too big and there are people there who don't care about the music. They just want to have a ball. OK with me but don't ruin the fun of other people. I went because John played there but I will never go again. All the others agreed with me on this.
The weather got better and better and the sun was shining when we reached the boat. On board Wolfgang and me freshened up and got something to eat later on.
Life was good.
We reached Hamburg with no problems and we located the Grünspan at 14:30. There were already some people there and we introduced ourselves. Later on Peter arrives and I get my ticket (see top of page). More introductions follow: Peter, Helmut, Manfred, Barry, Mike, Yuka, Lex, Werner, they are all great people and great fans.
The band arrive at the scene and they quickly move into the building. While we hear them soundchecking, the car with John arrives and he also disappears into the building. Later on Julie Fogery arrives and we get a chance to talk to her. Peter and Manfred give her some books to sign. Robert shows the letter Lisa sent to him and Julie is delighted. I take the opportunity to give her a drawing of John I made a few years ago. She loves it and I ask her if he can sign it for me. 'Sure' she says and then she also goes into the building. Some time later on she comes out again with the books and returns the picture to me. 'Thanks, John Fogerty' it says and I'm in heaven!!!
Some of us decided to get something to drink and as we get back, John comes out and offers to sign autographs for his fans. This I didn't expect and it is really interesting to see the man you've listened to all those years stand in front of you. I get to him and tell him that I had made the drawing he signed a few minutes back. 'Great picture', he says, 'Let's make a photograph!' and Robert makes a picture of us two! wow! Robert also gets some stuff signed. Later on he tries it again but John smiles and says: 'Hey, I know you. I'm not signing more for you!!'. It was a fun moment. After some time the car gets out and John goes away to get something to eat. At the same moment the doors of the Grünspan open and we rush inside...
All of us rush to the stage and there we are, up front for the second John Fogerty show in two days! And this one turns out to be even better. John seems to prefer the smaller club to the Roskilde grounds yesterday because he really is going for it. We get to hear the same set list as yesterday but John is much more interactive with the audience. He even calls out Peter, Helmut and Robert's names telling us he even knows the people here by name. Great fun.
Before John starts Jellyroll I ask him what kind of thing his steel-guitar is. 'Is it a bird? it it a...' and John responds by saying 'yeah... what is that thing?' giving his impersonation of a singing saw 'wheeeeeeeaaa'. This show is really something else. Excellent version of '110 In The Shade'. So many stupid and fun remarks were made during this show between John and his audience but what for me really stands out is that during Bad Moon Rising's chorus John looks at me and sees me sing. He sticks up his thumb and says 'Allright !' Peter also notices this and smiles to me. This is the best evening of my life and I will never forget it ! Never. Robert later on signs to Kenny Aronoff that he would like one of his drum sticks. Kenny throws one to Robert but it passes by over our heads... Too bad. But after the encores Kenny walks up to Robert and gives him one personally!
That's what kind of evening this was. A very personal night for both the performers and the audience.
After a complete two hour set John thanks his audience and gets backstage. Man, what a night to remember. We grab some set lists from the stage and we turn to go outside when suddenly Bob Fogerty is seen to the left of the stage. Robert immediately reacts and walks towards him. He tells him that we had to leave yesterday and that we really would like to see John. After all, he promised that we could meet up with him yesterday (AND tonight) so this is his chance to make something good to us. 'Maybe, maybe later on.' Bob says and I know what's going to happen. Still, we wait at the exit for Bob to arrive. And yes, he does and we expect to be taken back stage, but he still says 'maybe, maybe'. After a few minutes we all know it's not going to happen.
Bob promised us that we could meet John two times but he didn't succeed in the end. We do not know what happened. We stopped asking Bob about it because we didn't want to become a bother to him or others. We had a lot to be thankful for that day and so we left happily.
We decided to go to a hotel and we chose the one that Peter and some 12 other people were going to. We only had one problem and that was getting in ! :) Wolfgang had given a code to the reception but when we entered it, it didn't work. Luckily we found some employees of the hotel and everything was OK. This turned out to be a nice hotel and we all got a good night sleep for the first time in three days. phew.
Saturday, June 28
The first thing I did when I got up was to check my drawing. 'No', said Robert (who ofcourse was already awake), 'it was no dream, Wiebo'.
After we all had taken a shower we went down to get some breakfast. After that I called family at home and talked and exchanged adresses with the other guys staying at the hotel. Then it was off to Bremen where I would leave Robert, Petra and Wolfgang because I had a return ticket to my hometown in Holland.
I like to thank all the fans I met during this trip for the wonderful time I had because of them and with them. I will never forget it. I also want to thank John and Julie for being so kind to us, and coming out when we did not expect it. I don't think that you two will remember us after some time but I will remember these four days for a long time to come. Maybe you will read this page someday and will also recall some of it. Thanks.
If you want to see more pictures then go to the Gallery Page.
05:00 and already smiling?
Radisson SAS hotel in Copenhagen
John at Roskilde '97
John and band at Roskilde '97
The gang in front of the Grünspan
My drawing signed by John!
John joins his fans
John and me!
The Jellyroll steel guitar
John scored a homerun that evening