by Julian Spivey
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend John Fogerty put on one helluva show at the WinStar Casino in Thackerville, Okla. on Saturday, Oct. 28.
Fogerty, the songwriter, vocalist and lead guitarist for the iconic late ‘60s rock group Creedence Clearwater Revival, performed a set of CCR’s greatest hits along with some of his finest solo work. It was truly the perfect set list you’d want to see from a man of Fogerty’s legendary status.
The great thing about seeing Fogerty in concert is that even at the age of 72 he sounds and performs just as great as ever. He truly sounds like he did 50 years ago when he recorded many of his classics. Not only that, but his energy on stage is quite ridiculous for his age with him bouncing around while performing exceptional guitar solos that remind you just how great (and underrated) of a guitarist he is. The crazy thing is that at times during his show on Saturday night Fogerty seemed like he was going to tire his college aged son Shane who plays guitar in his band out instead of the other way around.
Fogerty began his nearly perfect set on Saturday night with the rockin’ “Travelin’ Band,” from CCR’s 1970 album Cosmo’s Factory. The performance instantaneously got the jam-packed WinStar Casino crowd up on their feet and rocking. The nostalgia of the evening kept right on going from that point with performances of CCR classics like “Green River,” “Susie Q” and “Born on the Bayou.”
Before performing 1970’s No. 2 hit “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” Fogerty told a great story about CCR’s unfortunate Woodstock performance where the famed festival lineup was pushed back so badly that his band didn’t go on until about two in the morning when most in attendance were sleeping, except for one guy out in the crowd who yelled, “We’re with you John!” Fogerty wrote “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” about the experience.
One of the remarkable things about seeing Fogerty perform these classic CCR songs live is it reminds you just how legendary the band was despite only being an act for essentially three or four years and Fogerty’s output as a songwriter in those short years rivals anybody in the history of the rock genre.
“Have You Ever Seen the Rain?,” “Down on the Corner,” “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” and so forth were all on display on Saturday night one after another much to the happiness of the audience. There were some surprises along the way too like a spirited cover of Gary U.S. Bonds’ “New Orleans” and the Leadbelly classic “Midnight Special,” which CCR famously covered, and Fogerty said he was taught as a child upon meeting folk legend Pete Seeger.
One of my favorite CCR songs has always been the down-trodden “Lodi,” about a performer essentially trapped in a down spiraling career and going nowhere. A few years ago, for the collaborative album Wrote a Song for Everyone Fogerty re-tuned the song with his son Shane and turned it into more of a rocker than the country-ish song it originally was. This was the performance Fogerty and his son performed on Saturday night. I probably would’ve liked to have heard the original, but it was fantastic to see how much fun Fogerty and his son were having together on stage.
While the main focus of the evening was on Fogerty’s timeless hits with CCR, and rightfully so, he did have the opportunity to showcase some of his solo classics like “Centerfield,” equipped with his baseball bat designed guitar that’s become a favorite during the performance, “Hot Rod Heart” and “The Old Man Down the Road.”
Fogerty would finish his set with a rocking performance of “Fortunate Son,” the anti-war hit from 1969 that showed the hypocrisy of the military draft during the height of the Vietnam War.
Fogerty would leave the stage briefly before returning for an epic two-song encore that featured what many would likely consider to be CCR’s two most famous songs: “Bad Moon Rising” (a great performance just days before Halloween) and “Proud Mary,” which had the entire audience singing along in unison.
Seeing Fogerty in concert is something I’ve wanted to do for many years. He was incredibly high on my concert bucket list and it’s a show I know I will never forget. It honestly surpassed any expectations that I had for it.
by Julian Spivey
The sheer number of musicians who performed tributes on television and in concert this week since the news of his death last Monday is a testament to the greatness, importance and all-around legacy of the Tom Petty.
The most important of these tributes took place on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend when country music superstar Jason Aldean, who was on the stage in Las Vegas last Sunday (Oct. 1) when a gunman opened fire on a festival crowd killing 58 in the biggest mass shooting in modern American history, made an important statement about not backing down to hate by performing one of Petty’s most well-known hits “I Won’t Back Down.” The decision to open ‘SNL’ with such a statement, presumably made by show producer Lorne Michaels, was a genius decision that will end up being one of TV’s most memorable and touching moments of the year.
Artists who performed tributes to Petty this week ranged in genre from country and pop to alternative rock and classic rock. It’s really a terrific sight to see as it lets us know instantly that Petty’s music and his all-around contribution to the American songbook will never fade away.
Here are many of the great tributes to Petty performed in the past week:
Jason Aldean - "I Won't Back Down"
Miley Cyrus - "Wildflowers"
Old Crow Medicine Show - "American Girl"
Kesha - "Into the Great Wide Open"
Coldplay with James Corden - "Free Fallin'"
Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle & Patti Griffin - "Refugee"
Kip Moore - "Learning to Fly"
Gov't Mule - "Breakdown"
Father John Misty - "To Find a Friend"
Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul - "Even the Losers"
Fleet Foxes - "Don't Come Around Here No More"
John Fogerty - "I Won't Back Down"
Wilco - "The Waiting"
Dawes - "Free Fallin'"
Avett Brothers - "You Don't Know How It Feels"
Lady Antebellum - "Learning to Fly"
Against Me! - "Runnin' Down a Dream"
Bob Weir - "Breakdown"
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real - "American Girl"
Imagine Dragons - "I Won't Back Down"
Conor Oberst - "Walls (Circus)"
Jack Johnson - "You Don't Know How It Feels"
The Lone Bellow - "Wildflowers"
Chris Stapleton - "Learning to Fly"
Matchbox Twenty - "I Won't Back Down"
Amos Lee - "Wildflowers"
Florida Gators Football Fans - "I Won't Back Down"
by Julian Spivey
I loved Tom Petty so much my pants fell off at my wedding reception.
My wedding day – June 20, 2015 – will always be one of my favorite days. I married my high school sweetheart, spent the day with my favorite family members, my new family and my friends and got to jam to many of my favorite songs.
The reception was way more fun than the actual wedding ceremony. That part is scary as hell. The reception is the best party you’re ever going to have in your life if you do it right. I must’ve done it right.
I didn’t try my pants on until the morning of my wedding. They were a little loose and unfortunately those fancy pants don’t have belt loops. I just knew there was a chance my pants were going to fall down right in front of the Catholic church during the ceremony. It would have led to a Runaway Groom situation and given the nuns something they’d never seen. Knowing this was a possibility I decided to wear shorts underneath the pants.
I made it through the wedding fine. For those of you who may get married in the future though don’t make your wedding party stand outside for almost an hour in 95-degree mid-summer heat to take photos. I wish the pants had fallen off then.
The wedding reception at another location was going well too. Aprille and I danced to our song, “When You Say Nothing at All,” the Allison Krauss version. I say dance, but it was just us holding on to each other while we made small circles in place and laughed at how ridiculous we looked in front of everybody we loved. The pants stayed up.
After the formalities – the first dance, the cutting of the cake, etc. the real party began. The DJ began to play “American Girl,” my favorite song by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It’s not exactly a punk song, but I believe it has punk sensibilities. I found my Tom Petty loving friend Chris Kelley and we began to essentially mosh dance in the middle of the room. We must have looked like complete idiots. I didn’t care. It was the greatest day of my life. As we were thrashing back and forth the moment I knew was a possibility became a reality. It finally happened. My pants fell to my ankles. The whole room laughed. Well, they may have gasped first and then laughed.
Normally I would’ve been so embarrassed I probably couldn’t have moved. Not this day – besides “American Girl” was still playing. I reached down for my pants between my ankles. People assumed I’d pull them up. A normal person would’ve pulled them back up. I took them off. It wasn’t easy over my dress shoes. But those pants came off and I threw them across the room. The slam dancing commenced. Tom Petty got me out of my pants on my wedding night before my wife ever had the chance to do so.
I’m going to miss the hell out of Tom Petty.