Premonition '98 TOUR REVIEWS
John Fogerty at New Orleans "Jazz & Heritage Festival"
April 25, 1998
courtesy Tom Dirkx via private email
The Jazz and Heritage Festival (some call it "Jazzfest") is, after Mardi Gras, the biggest attraction in N'awlins every year!! It attrax hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around the world. And the greatest acts (very few "jazz") just love to play here because of the great tradition of New Orleans and the fact that people understand and love their music. Actually that was one of John's comments after a couple of songs.
But first the opening act ."Dr.John", a local N'awlins hero. People here just love the guy. He plays these funky tunes and you just can't stand still, everything and everybody feels like dancing. he's got a great band with some mean saxophone playing. Also; he has a live album out (I think it's called "Trippin' but I'm not sure). In case you've never heard Dr. John, he plays piano and "sounds" very black. But he is a white guy. His band is about 50/50 black & white and makes for some great rhythms, a true "tower of power" and he has the place Rockin. But, of course, every one is here for the Main Man, Mr. John Fogerty hiss'ef.
Suddenly. the place goes dark, swamp sounds all around and.... Born On The Bayou blasts from the speakers. Way to go John!!! No backdrop this time, just a Jazz-fest flag. And when he gets to the "chooglin' down to New Orleans" part of BOTB, the crowd goes CRAZY (and it's only the first song!!!!). I lost my play list but next came Green River, probably my all time personal favorite (although there are soooo many good songs to choose from).
Anyway; John wears his hair a bit "thicker"; a bit "fuller" and looks like some of the pictures from 1970. The guy just stays young!! Even when they roll out that big ole amp (remember Woodstock??) to play Susie Q and Spell!!! Absolutely GREAT guitar on Spell; just timeless; what a master he is!!! The critix never give him much credit for his voice but he can make that song (Spell) go wicked!!! Maybe Spell should be my favorite after all!!
Next comes "Jelly Roll" and in case you couldn't figure out where that name comes from... (just bring it down to Jelly Roll) it's the nickname of another New Orleans musical Great, Mr "Jelly Roll" Morton, a Jazz great from the 1920's who sang "ragtime" ("Hold that tiger"). If you go to the New Orleans airport you can see his picture hanging around gate 7 next to Louis Armstrong. And next into: Who'll stop the rain.
This time no "unplugged" Fogerty and also a new drummer in the band; he introduced them and all the guys seem the same to me as last year except the drummer. Unfortunately I did not catch the guy's name but it's definitely NOT Kenny A. Perhaps he lost a bit of "fire-power" without Kenny but that may not be all bad after all. It still sounded like a great Rock & Roll band. Especially when John turned that guitar loose!!
He changed to that baseball guitar to play Centerfield. Don't forget that the baseball season just got started in the US this month. It has become a bit of an "anthem" to play that song during baseball games!! And from there to Willy & the Po'Boys (won't you lay your money down!)
And next was Hot Rod Heart. Somewhere around here he also played "110 (approx 43 C or so) in the shade.".. I may be off a bit with my songs.
He followed with a bit of a surprise. New Orleans is known for it's music but also for it's cooking; especially "cajun" and "creole" cooking. Anyway, Mr. Hank Williams once wrote a song about Louisiana (don't forget where we are) called Jambalaya and John did his version on the Blue Ridge Rangers album. As you can imagine, singing "O jambalaya, crawfish pie and file' gumbo" (file' is a SPICE to go into the gumbo) assures a great sing- along. down the bayou!!! (I simply did not expect that song but it was great fun!!). And next he had some fun himself with the audience playing, but not singing, Cotton Fields. And the crowd took over!! Again, don't forget where you are. When you sing: It was down in Louisiana. just about a mile from Texarkana" these people are singing about THEIR country!!! Great response!!!!
So, by now he's got the crowd in the palm of his hands and he can do a bit more "playing" He mentioned a couple of times how glad he was to be at the Jazz fest and how much he loved New Orleans. He was very, very relaxed and instead of guitar pix he threw beads into the crowd ( a N'Awlins Mardi Gras tradition!!!). He seemed to have great fun doing that.
I think next was Old man down the road with some fabulous guitar playing toward the end. And he did Blueboy and Hurricane from the Blue Moon Swamp album. Here my list gets a bit off but he did a great "Heard it through the Grapevine" (his impression of the white blues singer) and also Bad Moon Rising. And yes... at one point he DOES sing" "There's a bath room on the right"!!!!
I think the last song of the regular set was, just like last year, Fortunate Son. The set was a bit shorter than last year, not as many "BMS" songs and he skipped things like Midnite special, Working on a building and" B/4 y'accuse me". But it was tight, well performed and both John and the crowd had an absolutely fabulous time. Of course he had to come back to do Proud Mary (Pumped a lot of 'pane down in New Orleans.... Rolling down a river...) And that river he is talking about is where all these people live. He didn't even sing the last part of the song, by now the crowd ruled!! People in Louisiana LOVE their music and John knows just how to play it right.!!!! And screaming down came that seven-thirty-seven to finish it up.
WOW !!!! Another GREAT Fogerty nite!! One of these days I'll be able to say; Now here is the greatest swamp-rocker of 'm all, the man is in the R&R Hall of fame; has written absolutely TIMELESS songs and, best of all, I saw him perform!!! John I can't wait to catch you again this summer!! Perhaps June 22 in Toronto!!!!! Keep on Chooglin' !!!!
John Fogerty at New Orleans "Jazz & Heritage Festival"
April 25, 1998
courtesy Phyllis DeMers via "Fogerty's Swamp" mailing list
The concert began without the swamp background but bathed in purple lights and cricket sounds. Johns Fogerty appeared on stage with his usual bound of energy going right into Born on the Bayou, and Green River. The "amp" was rolled on stage, and he changed guitars to the "rig". Of course this could only mean Suzy Q and Put a Spell on You. He then asked his #1 New Orleans fan, Darlene, what he was going to play from Blue Moon Swamp. It must be her favorite, Bring It on Down to Jelly Roll. John went on to sing Who'll Stop the Rain, 110 in the Shade, Centerfield, Down on the Corner, Hot Rod Heart, and Jambalaya. At this point, the other guitarists took a break while JCF played Cotton Fields and the audience sang. He toss guitar picks out to the crowd along with Mardi Gras beads. The band was introduced: (I couldn't hear very well but this is what I think I heard) rhythm guitar, Michael Tinkel; rockabilly guitar, Johnny Lee Shell; drums, Steve Cronin; and base guitar, Bob Gloud. The concert continued with The Old Man Down the Road and a noticable strain in John's voice. More Mardi Gras beads were tossed to the audience. He then went on with Blue Boy, Like a Hurricane, and I Heard It Through the Grapevine (with a short drum solo at the end). By this time his voice was shot!
In spite of the problems with his voice he sang Bad Moon Rising, and Fortunate Son. He left the stage and came back for the encore with Proud Mary and Traveling Band.
The total concert was 1 and 1/2 hours. In spite of his voice problems I consided it a great concert that had people dancing in the aisles. His voice problems were probably caused by the concert the previous day.
John Fogerty at the Radio City Music Hall, New York.
July 2, 1998
courtesy Tom Dirkx via private email
I just caught the Fogerty show at Radio City Music Hall in New York and wanted to share some of the experiences with you. Before the show , I had read that Fogerty's New York show was supposed to be one of the "major" stops on this year's tour and not just because it's a "big city" . True or not..it was very impressive to see his name up in lights on the "Radio City Music Hall", one of the best known concert halls in all of the USA, smack in the heart of downtown Manhattan, which is celebrating its 65th Birthday this year.
I arrived early and tried to figure out what to do with my time and found out that you can actually take a "tour" of Radio City. With a little math I decided to buy a ticket for the LAST tour of the day and BINGO!!!! I be damned if I didn't step right in the middle of the soundcheck. Our friendly tour guide tried to show us all kinds of interesting things (including Meatloaf's guitar..he once sold the place out 30 consecutive times!!) but I only had eyes and ears for the sound check. I caught parts of "Spell" (where he was trying out the "resonance" of his amp), "Joy", Working on a Building, Rambunctious Boy and Almost Saturday Nite. His kids were also up on stage
hollering and screaming.
The show itself started with "Whiskey Town" and that was a big mess. They should be condemned to practice LODI non-stop for the next 6 months. 'nuf said.
Funny thing... 20 mins after they left the curtain goes up and the crowd starts going ape and.....it's only the roadies waving back very friendly. When John DID make it a few minutes later he had already started playing BOTB with the curtain still down. Actually that was pretty cool. He was (of course) all in black (He wore a denim shirt during the sound check) and he played for about two hours.
All his well known "hits" of course but he also went back to some of the "lesser known" songs like "Working on a Building". One of the hilites of the show was when he cranked the "I" in "If I were a gambler" into an extended "IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii" that must have lasted for sumthin like 30 seconds. So it sounded like: 'If IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiii were a gambler"; It had the crowd ROARING on its feet!!!
Personal hilite (and favorite song) was "Up around the Bend". He didn't do that song last year but it rocked!!! Other hilites included "Have you ever seen the Rain " (where he straps on one of these "mouth-mikes" and just walks around with an acoustic guitar), and a smash-mouth version of Grapevine. Possibly the BEST one I've heard. Boy that song sounded GREAT!!!
A few more observations. He has the same back-drop as last year but now extended the "theme" to cover all the amps as well (looks like "reed" in a swamp). I could have sworn he also had lilypads on the stage to go along with the swamp theme.
The crowd seemed a bit older but that might also be because of the pretty steep tkt prices ($ 40 and UP). Although the guy next to me was pretty young. He sang along with all the "new" songs but not any of the "older" /CCR songs. Kinda different. The place seats about 6000 and as far as I could see it was pretty much sold out.
Here is a good one. He introduced "Jambalaya" as "an old Hank Williams song" (which, of course it is). BUT........ I could have sworn that on the BRR album it is listed as a "traditional" with arrangements by JC Fogerty. Anyway; it was a great sing-along especially in tandem with "Cotton Fields"
During Centerfield he got to the "Joe DiMagio" line and the crowd just ROARED. For the Europeans on this list. Joe (also known from Simon & Garfunkel's "Where have you gone Joe DM) was the all-star hitter for the NEW YORK YANKEES (and well loved all around the country)
He mentioned how he loved playing in New York and thanked everyone for their support. He was, of course, talking about the Grammy's (which come out of New York) and how he "would have liked to be on TV" and next something of a mystery. Of course he was NOT shown on TV here in the USA during the Grammy presentation but he added... "just wait till next year". I wonder if there was something of a "hint" in those words about things yet to come??????
Although he played ASN during the sound check he did NOT play it during the show. As a matter of fact ; I have read a few setlists of this year's tour and he seems to keep changing the show around (No: "Tombstone Shadow" either. He had played that song at other concerts and I was looking forward to it)
By the end of the show he had everyone up on his feet Rocking the place. There was a great response from the crowd to just about everything he did on stage and he seemed to really enjoy playing at Radio City. He asked for "requests" and people hollered all kids of somgs at him and he just said. "Aw Shux...we'll do 'm all.." and went straight into "Grapevine" with that catchy bass line. Boy he made that song rock. Again he proved that he is not just "one of a kind" but also a living legend. Keep on Chooglin' John !!! I'll catch you again August 1st in Little Rock.
John Fogerty at the Star Pavillion, Hershey, PA.
July 3, 1998
courtesy Steve Dincau via private email
My wife and I had the honor of seeing John play at Hersheypark's Star Pavillion. In fact, I read in the paper the following day that he had the people sweating it out as to whether he would show ! He played the Today show in NYC that morning and didn't get to Hershey until about 40 minutes before he was to take the stage! However, if Fogerty felt any kind of road fatigue, he was DEFINATELY NOT showing. He was in top form when the opening chords of Born on the Bayou ripped through the dusk air. The atmosphere was perfect! The sun was just setting behind the crowd and the red on the horizon accented the evening blue perfectly. And if you looked straight up above the left side of the stage, a plump 3/4 moon was set in the sky! O.K., so I'm over-doing the dramatics just a wee bit, but you just HAD to be there!
After BOTB was done, he launched straight into Green River. Then, his crew brought out an old amplifier which he proudly stated was the same one he's been using for 30 years. Susie Q sounded incredible in it's live glory, as did I Put A Spell On You, which was a very unexpected yet pleasent surprise. There was no pause between the two songs - just the SQ end jam and then a perfect "smash" into Spell.
I don't remember order, but we were then treated to a new song (Premonition?), Lodi, Up Around The Bend, Lookin' Out My Back Door. He threw in some more new songs that I am not familiar with (but I liked them enough that Blue Moon Swamp will be the next CD I buy!) and then played Who'll Stop the Rain. Next came the acoustic set which was perfect, as the sun had set behind us that there was just a slight glow on the horizon and the rest of the sky was a very relaxing dark blue. Again, I assume that these were all new songs that I really enjoyed. Fogerty is a very talented songwriter.
Then, the stage was cleared of all the acoustic stuff and the sounds of Centerfield filled the night air. By now, night had fallen completely and the sky was black, time for the band to take full advantage of their fabulous lighting system! Fogerty seemed to very much enjoy himself as he went back and forth across the stage, swinging his guitar every-which-way-but-loose! Then we heard Down on the Corner, two more (new?) songs, Have You Ever Seen The Rain (Oh, definately! We've had quite a bit up here in the northeast these last few weeks!), Old Man Down The Road, and then Fogerty asked the crowd what one song we wanted to hear most. After listening to every section of crowd, he said "Awlright, I get the picture. I'll play 'em all!" He then launched into Grapevine, Bad Moon, and ended the set with Fortunate Son.
If it would have ended there, I would still have gone home very happy, but of course it didn't! He came back out and played Proud Mary and Travellin' Band. After the show, Hershey was treated to a very nice Independance Weekend Fireworks display. It was the end of a perfect evening. It was the Friday of Indepedance Weekend, with the 4th being the next day. I can't think of a better way to kick it all off than with the concert. I see JF as the ultimate in USA music. His songs are of the bayou, patriotism, baseball, smalltown USA, and all kind of other subjects that are so American. This evening will stay in my memory for years to come! Even my wife, who does not care much for concerts, had a wonderful time.
The band definately deserves mention - don't think for one moment that I didn't notice the talent that JF surrounds himself with! The songs were all very faithfully reproduced, yet still sounded as fresh as the first time I heard them. The drummer was right on, the bass was right with him, and the extra guitar complimented everything perfectly! When you sit down and look back on any cocert you ever were at, it's easy to look at your albums and say "I wish they would have played this or that", and sure I would've loved to hear Long as I See The Light or Someday Never Comes, but driving home that night, I couldn't think of any song that he didn't play, only the ones he did. Thanks, John, for a fantastic evening! Keep On Chooglin'...
John Fogerty at the New World Music Theatre.
July 26, 1998
courtesy DAVE HOEKSTRA via "Fogerty's Swamp" mailing list
Every summer one remarkable show rolls through the New World Music Theatre that inexplicably fails to draw the audience it deserves.
Last year it was the amazing triple bill of Bob Dylan, Ani DiFranco and BR5-49. This year it is John Fogerty.
Fogerty appeared Sunday night before a small but loyal crowd of bikers, baseball fans who had just tumbled out of Wrigley Field, and old guys like me. The concert was rescheduled from June 12, when Fogerty was supposed to launch his ``Premonition'' tour.
Fogerty's camp moved the show to avoid a conflict with the NBA finals, but truth be told, ticket sales were abysmal. And sales never picked up, judging by the two-for-one ticket deals offered by a beer company in the last week.
I've been covering popular music for 20 years, and there are some things I still can't figure out: like why the hippie muzak of the Dave Matthews Band would draw more people to Tinley Park than Fogerty.
At age 52, Fogerty is an artist is in his prime, which is a considerable accomplishment when you match him up against contemporaries like the Beach Boys and Mick Jagger, who celebrated his 55th birthday on Sunday.
Fogerty is growing old with the rustic dignity of a country artist instead of the rusty pathos of a rock 'n' roller. Fogerty continues to reinvent himself as a guitarist, successfully meshing the hard, heavy on the bass drive popularized by the late Don Rich (of Buck Owens and the Buckaroos) with the blistering stacatto of James Burton (Elvis Presley, Gram Parsons).
Fogerty hasn't turned his back on his 1973 bluegrass-country Blue Ridge Rangers project. Halfway through Sunday's show, he interpreted ``Working on a Building'' through an acoustic skiffle-swamp band and later plugged it in to charge through a gospel-rock rendition of Hank Williams' ``Jambalaya (on the Bayou).'' I wouldn't be surprised if the next batch of new Fogerty songs are deeply characterized by country music idioms.
Since Fogerty launched his comeback tour in May, 1997, I've seen him at the House of Blues, Farm Aid at the New World, and at this year's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The biggest surprise Sunday was a softer and more empathic vocal approach not only on such ballads as ``Have You Ever Seen the Rain?'' but also on the uptempo shuffles ``Down on the Corner'' and the rollicking ``Centerfield.''
One of the night's purest moments was Fogerty walking around stage, guitar cocked in the air like a modern-day Woody Guthrie, while delivering pleading takes on ``Wrote a Song for Everyone.'' Fogerty likely finds a greater comfort zone for his vocals since Kenny Aronoff left to join the Smashing Pumpkins.
His replacement is Michael Cartellone, formerly with Damn Yankees. Cartellone lacks Aronoff's muscle and power, but his soulful snaps and subtle approach embellished Fogerty's timeless lyrics.
John Fogerty at Little Rock
aug. 1, 1998
courtesy Tom Dirkx via private email
By now you must have heard that John smashed a guitar into smithereens during the Lil Rock concert.... I guess everyone feels like doing exactly that from time to time; I know I do..... But still. Little Rock is the closest he will come this year to the "spiritual home" of his music; The delta, bayou's, swamps and cottonfields of Mississippi and Louisiana.
Once I got to Lil Rock we hooked up with Ron Pitts and Donna Casiday (& Heather). We sat on a balcony that overlooked the amphitheatre and, while enjoying a few cold ones, we caught the soundcheck. It was just the band though, John never showed. And they only did three songs incl a "train song" that I know but it's not a Fogerty song. When they left, the opening act (Sister seven) did their check and at one point they played Proud Mary!!
Sister seven was a million times better than whiskeytown. The singer has a nice voice (and even nicer tattoo's); the bass-guy has a six-string bass and they said "Thanx for coming out early" to the audience.
At the show we also met Bruce Cook from N'awlins, Ms. Darlene and, later, also Adam Bryant and Stephanie. I guess we had a nice swamp-list-gathering going. The audience was "laid-back"..it was a hot summer day and people had blankets and laid on the grass. There were hippies and vietnam vets, leather, cowboys, teenagers and old folks like Ron and me!!
Fogerty did the "standard" setlist. Although there were no surprises there were still plenty of highlights!! Before he sang Susie Q he mentioned how the original songwriter (Dale Hawkins) was also at the concert. Dale lives near Little Rock
His voice started of GREAT but he struggled a bit toward the end. Travellin Band (the second encore) was kinda stretching it. But, I guess, after two hours it would be tough. I know I was hoarse the next day just from singing along. I can only imagine what John must feel like performing day after day.
Henrik, just for your information. He was dressed in black and wore one of those "silver tip" belts. They are very popular here and I have it on good authority that they drive women batty.
Back to the music. During the "acoustic part" of the show he started having difficulties with his guitar. During WASFE he even stopped playing and put his arm over the strings to stop the "buzz". He shortened the song and did not do all the verses. When he did HYESTR he sings: "Till forever on it goes...through the circle fast and slow" and you could hear him say (to himself) "AMEN !" But since he was wearing that mouthmike you could easily pick that up. After the song he walks behind the amps and all of a sudden KABOOM and wood is flying..10 seconds later he comes back. Straps on an electric guitar and continues the show as if nothing ever happened. You coul still tell the frustration in his face but he did not let that affect him; the ultimate performer I guess!!
Darlene had handed out some "Fogerty Rocks" stickers before the show and they came in handy because during Midnight Special I held mine high. John noticed the sign; grinned and pointed at it !!!
I KNOW that in "Backdoor" he sings: "Tambourines & elephants" yet ,I could have sworn he said "tangerines" the very first time. I wonder if he was just "toying" with the audience. Because during BMR he did point to the right, smiled and sang: There's a bathroom to the right "
In todays world where it seems like every 6 months there is some new music "fad" it's just great to hear the timeless songs of John Fogerty and to see the master himself practicing his craft!! If you have a chance to see him; go NOW!!! Who knows how much longer we get to enjoy this living legend perform live!!!
John Fogerty at the Spektrum, Oslo.
september 14, 1998
courtesy Erik Osterud via private email
I also attended Fogerty in Gotheburg/Sweden and those shows were quite similar. A very familiar opener with 'Bayou',Green River,Lodi,..Back door , and almost the same description about the famous rig. Except this time around it had been in Sidney,Tokyo and Norway.
One of the major differences in my opinion was the drummer(Good looking according to Fogerty) , he played much more technical interesting with
very sharp snare drum approach and more interesting Cymbal work , than the aggressive drumming from Aronoff. It's not right to say that one of them is better than the other , but to my ears , he was better for Fogertys music. Another change I noticed was that Johnny Lee(The best dressed rock musician in the world...according to Fogerty) had a little more work on the guitar than the last time around. He played the major riffs (in between)
on Centerfield,Hot Rod Heart Rambunctious Boy and actually a lead part on Blue Moon Nights. They even managed to get the choir rigth, so it sounded real good. But it wasn't until 'Up around the Bend' that people went bananas !! This song was realy kickin' and proved to me that Fogerty's raw voice is still there.
Several days later I tried to investigate have his voice had changed ,because it's obvious that he sings softer and more mature now. One reason is ofcourse when Creedence played 45-50 minutes 28 years ago, it was because his voice wouldn't last any longer. Now he plays for over 2 hours and at full power that wouldn't be possible. I took out my 'Live in Europe' and 'Concert' CD and played 'Travelin Band' over and over, and compared it to the version on Premonition. And it's obvious to me that he sings with the same power on Premonition, that he did on those earlier recordings.
The acoustic part is nice , but I'm pretty tired of the song 'Joy of my life' and to hear about his 'devoted wife.....'(Give me a break) Last time around he played hot 'country guitar' on Big Train , but this time he impressed me with 'Jambalaya'. 'Wrote a song for everyone' was a highlight for me , it was simply chicken skin music. ( Too bad he left out the solo and last verse).
'Hot Rod Heart' is also a concert killer .Works very well.
Always when he comes to 'Midnight special' I think : Oh God ,not this song with 122 refrain choruses again.!!!! But to my pleasent suprise he had squeezed all those choruses down to an acceptable length.
'Rockin all over the world' is good , but he should have been more imaginitive than to play the excact same lead-break twice !!! (You can also hear that on Premonition). 'I heard it through the Grapevine' was the song I was least satisfied with. It was not groovin'.Way to much stacato in the base sound,it didn't have that rollin' feeling like the record , and the solo was also not too interesting. (Sorry John).
Highlights : Green River,I put a spell on you,Rambuctious Boy, Up around the Bend,Blue moon nights(I little nugget),Wrote a song.., Hot Rod Heart,Old Man.., AND the Rest
But overall a VERY GOOD concert with a VERY energic,posistive and jumping John Fogerty. (He doesn't look like a guy in the fifties when
he does his kenguru dance along the stage)