John Fogerty kicks off rock concerts at A.V. Fair 2008

By Lorraine Kay

John Fogerty kicked off the rock and roll concerts at this year’s Antelope Valley Fair and Alfalfa Festival. The 1960’s rock and roller, formerly of the band Creedence Clearwater Revival delivered two hours of his greatest hits and a sample of his latest recording, “Revival”.

A mostly nostalgic audience jumped to their feet and joined in singing on familiar refrains of their favorite songs, like “Proud Mary”.

Fogerty slammed the crowd opening with “Traveling Band”, jumping right into other old favorites “Bad Moon Rising”. “Green River” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain”.  The crowd got excited over “Lookin’ Out My Back Door”, and “Born On The Bayou” He changed the pace a bit with “Cotton Fields” with a more bluegrass rendition.

He switched gears and introduced a new tune from his latest recording entitled “Don’t You Wish It Was True?”, which had a distinctive country flavor. Later things got a bit political when Fogerty slid into “Gunslinger”, another crowd pleaser.

Immediately after Gunslinger, Fogerty snuck in “Somebody Help Me” and “Midnight Special”, two more big crowd pleasers.

The pace slowed down a bit for another new song, according to Fogerty one of a very few love songs he has ever written entitled “Broken Down Cowboy”, a somewhat autobiographical tune written to someone special in his life.

Some other favorite oldies were on the tune line-up but not before Fogerty surprised the audience with a bit of Eddie Van Halen guitar gymnastics with Van Halen’s signature instrumental intro leading into some other hit tunes. “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” lead to another bluegrass hit “Blue Ridge Mountain Blues” that featured fiddle player Jason Mowrey.

Fogerty crossed the political line again with “I Can’t Take It No More” before grabbing the audience with a few more old favorites “Comin’ Down The Road”, “The Old Man Down The Road”, and “Down On The Corner”.

A harder rocking tune “Rock and Roll Girls” that featured an organ solo by Matt Nolan, had the audience on its feet and joining in, but all night fans had been screaming for “Centerfield” and they got their wish, with even those that stayed seated through “Rock and Roll Girls” rising to the occasion and singing along.

Following a brief break, Fogerty returned to the stage for a two-song encore offering up “Up Around the Bend” and “Proud Mary”.

Fogerty was supported on stage by a seven-piece band that also featured legendary guitarist Billy Burnett and Hunter Perry, also on guitar. The rhythm section was accomplished by bassist David Santo and drummer Kenny Ren.

A mixed group of fans attended with most being from the over 40 group, but a younger crowd did not stay away, enjoying the oldies as well as the newer tunes. Familiar with every song played, the audience could be heard singing along on nearly everything Fogerty had to offer, keeping the energy high and full of fun.