We were fearful that our Judge Dennis Prince might have been in the throes of some sort of neurological disorder. Turned out he was just chooglin'.
He'll put a spell on you…
On September 9, 2005, the unthinkable happened: former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty and his estranged recording label, Fantasy Records, mended ways. For over three decades, Fogerty was mired in bitter disputes and endless legal actions in a bid to regain license to perform the catalog of songs he wrote and recorded between 1969 and 1972. Having lost control of his creative output, Fogerty all but abandoned any hope of ever regaining control—and performance rights—to his now-legendary music. That all came to a remarkable end when the Concord Music Group acquired Fantasy Records and immediately began reaching out to the label's most notable artist. Fogerty and Fantasy announced new projects in the works, the first being a compilation CD that would chronicle Fogerty's entire career—from his days with Creedence to his various solo achievements—being released under the collection title of The Long Road Home. The other imminent project was a live DVD that would reunite the fans with the man, allowing everyone to return to the rocking days that seemed forever gone.
On September 13, 2005, John Fogerty rocked the capacity crowd at Hollywood's Wiltern Theater. Dressed in a black shirt and blue jeans, Fogerty gets right down to business as soon as he steps onto the stage. By his own proclamation, "What I'm about is just playin' rock 'n roll so let's get to it," the 61-year-old guitarist/singer/songwriter does exactly that. Following a rousing opening number of "Travelin' Band," he barrels ahead for the duration of the 99-minute performance, treating the faithful in attendance to a smattering old classics and newer favorites. Backed by a remarkably cohesive band, Fogerty and company belt out numbers with precision, delivering a veritable note-for-note homage to his classic tunes and unforgettable riffs. On the vocals side, time hasn't touched Fogerty's ability to shout out the likes of "Fortunate Son," "Sweet Hitchhiker," "Lookin' Out My Back Door," and "Proud Mary." His voice is hauntingly unaffected by thirty years to the extent that you'd be challenged to find any difference in this performance and those from his Creedence days. All the while, he caresses his various six-string guitars while bouncing and bounding around the stage. Energy is definitely not lacking in this fellow.
Here's the set list for this new DVD:
• Intro/Travelin' Band
This new disc from Fantasy Jazz is top quality and a tribute to Fogerty's performance captured within. The transfer is anamorphically enhanced and delivered in a strikingly clean and clear image. Filmed with hi-def equipment, the usual artifacts that often besmirch a live performance are completely absent. Instead, you'll see all the bright lights, vibrant colors, and excellent detail as if you were actually in attendance. The direction is steady and straightforward, offering plenty of face time for Fogerty without relenting to the sort of quick cuts that are sometimes employed to prevent viewers from seeing the natural effects of aging on a beloved performer (to which Fogerty could conceivably quip, "what the hell, let's have fun here"). The audio is also well-managed and offered in DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. All three options are nicely mixed and balanced but the DTS track is definitely the best choice, literally enveloping you in a generous soundstage that maintains clarity and proper fidelity. You can't help but begin to tap your foot from the opening song. There is a single extra on the disc, that being a repeat of the "Déjà Vu (All Over Again)" number, this time set to a 4:3 video featuring images of the Vietnam conflict and the public protests that followed.
All told, this is a performance not to be missed. Even if you're just a casual fan, you'll be hard pressed to resist the energy and excitement of Fogerty's performance. And, if you have younger ones around who've never been exposed to the classic tunes, this new disc will serve as a fitting introduction.
By no means should this enduring artist be dismissed as just an "old Fogerty." This guy still rocks!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Concord Music Group
• "Déjà Vu (All Over Again)" Video
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