Creedence Clearwater Revisited Review

13 Sep


“Creedence Clearwater Revisited” Concert Review

September 5, 2016

L. B. Day Amphitheater, Salem, Oregon

By: Bob Gersztyn


It was with great anticipation that I attended my first “Creedence Clearwater Revistited” show on Labor Day 2016. Salem, Oregon has been my home since 1986, when I moved there from my original hometown in Greater Detroit, Michigan. Back in hippie times, in 1970 “Creedence Clearwater Revival” played “Cobo Hall,” the largest venue in Detroit during that period. It was during the peak of their success and I attended the concert with my girlfriend on the main floor about 15 rows back and pretty much center stage with an unobstructed view of the quartet, in all their glory as the most successful rock stars of the hippie era, with 20 charted radio hits over a 4 year period. After the Beatles Broke up, Creedence dominated the radio hit charts, until they broke up in 1972. Each of their first 6 record albums was peppered with hits, until their 7th and last,Β  “Mardi Gras,” which was released in 1972.


Creedence’s songs were as culturally impacting as the Beatles or Bob Dylan, but with their own voice for their own time. Although they wrote most of their own music with hits like “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising and “Down on the Corner,” they also had the ability to do covers of R&B and blues tunes in their own unique style, so as to make them their own. I remember to this day the exact place and circumstances that I first heard a number of their covers, from “Suzie Q” to “I heard it Through the Grapevine.” Ironically, I attended the “Creedence Clearwater Revisited” concert with the same girlfriend that I attended the first Revival 46 years earlier, but now we’ve been married for over 45 years. She told me that she saw Gladys Knight and the Pips, who were the first to record “I Heard It Through The Grapevine, perform it at the Motown Revue at the Fox Theater in 1967.Β  The next year Marvin Gaye turned it into a bigger hit and CCR turned it into a bigger one yet.


We were seated 4 rows back and center stage, when promptly at 4:00 P.M. “Creedence Clearwater Revistited” took the stage as everyone plugged in and began the set with “Born On The Bayou.” By the time that “Who’ll Stop The Rain” began, I realized thatΒ  vocalist, John Tristao’s replacement, Dan McGuiness, looked a lot like John Fogerty in his youth, as well as having a similar sounding voice, which was to be expected. Β “Suzie Q” began with an unearthly sound that blended with guitar feedback until the train chugging drums took the lead. Kurt Griffey blew me away with some incredibly delightful extended guitar solos, while Cosmo attacked his drums like 175mm howitzer shells exploding just out of range.


Bass player Stu Cook and drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford have been friends for over 58 years and first met when they were 13. Music is the glue that has held them together and produced the driving rhythm section that became part of the phenomenon that was the original CCR from 1967-1972. That glue held as they formed “Creedence Clearwater Revisited” in the mid 1990’s shortly after they were inducted into the “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.” That glue is still holding today with Stu and Cosmo as the nucleus that drives the 5 man quintet with help from singer/guitarist Dan McGuiness, lead guitarist Kurt Griffey and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Steve Gunner. During their 90 minute set they would do homage to nearly 20 songs that Stu and Cosmo helped create nearly 50 years ago. Remarkably that music still had the ability to drive people to their feet if not dance with abandon.


Cook does most of the talking to introduce songs and band members, but at one point Clifford came out from behind his drums and stepped up to a microphone to address the crowd in the sold out packed amphitheater. He talked about friendship and longevity as he flexed his bicep to a screaming crowd. Stu and Cosmo embraced each other in an expression of joy and love that reflected the Camaraderie that exists between them. That connection with each other that they have was apparent throughout their performance and the spillover effect was just as apparent in the performances of all the other members of “CCR.” The effect was contagious and spilled over into the crowd as well, as 10,000 people were on their feet dancing to “As Long As I Can See The Light.” After the band concluded their final encore with “Up Around The Bend,” the crowd reluctantly accepted that it was time to leave with their memories singing and their ears ringing.



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