November 11, 2004
The Tabernacle - Atlanta

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John Fogerty actually seems like an average Joe when you see him in concert: a hard working, flannel wearing, blue-collar man. The only difference between Fogerty and his crowd seemed to be that instead of churning out textile or tools, he turns out songs that everyone in America has known for more than a generation. Everything here was familiar and homey. From the opening pump-up of “Travelin’ Band” to the final strains of “Proud Mary,” Fogerty delivered. I don’t think I’ve heard this many classics strung one after the other all year. You’d think the sing-a-long in “Down On The Corner” couldn’t be topped, then “Who’ll Stop The Rain” would come along.


  But it wasn’t all about the classics. In fact, the highlight of the show was the brand new “Déjà vu (All Over Again).” On a screen over the stage, footage of Viet Nam slowly changed to footage of Iraq as Fogerty sang, “Day by day I hear the voices rising. Started with a whisper like it did before. Day by day we count the dead and dying. Ship the bodies home while the networks all keep score…Day after day another Momma's crying. She's lost her precious child to a war that has no end…it’s like déjà vu all over again.” This song is as powerful as anything he’s ever done. And while it was clear that most in attendance are proud to be in a “red state,” somehow, that only made the statement stronger and more compelling.


While John Fogerty’s rightly known as a songwriter, he’s less known as an instrumentalist. I have to wonder why. Tasteful leads lit up newer material such as “Honey Do” and “I Will Walk With You” while pushing “Lodi” and “Suzy Q” beyond what’s on vinyl. Perhaps Fogerty’s mid-‘80s hit “Centerfield” was the best hybrid of songwriting and playing. The singer-guitarist bounded around the stage with a mile wide grin, jumping up and down like a thrilled toddler as he dished out one great lick after another. It’s good to know that an artist of this stature is still enjoying himself after all these years. He reveled in discovering just the right combination of notes, with each progression feeling like he’d unlocked a magic code to happiness. And his fun was contagious. When he wrapped up the show with “Fortunate Son,” everyone was up and smiling. During the encore of “Bad Moon Rising,” he even sang the lyrics as they’re often misheard:   “there’s a bathroom on the right.” As he sang it, he pointed to the venue’s lavatory with a smile. From one emotional turn to another, Fogerty’s still got it.

(Chris McKay /

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