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Review: John Fogerty rocks ‘Cosmo’s Factory’ and more in Tampa

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John Fogerty brought his "Wrote A Song For Everyone" tour to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa on Sunday, October 27, 2013. Here's Fogerty, wearing what appears to be the same outfit, at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park on Friday, October 25, 2013, in Alpharetta, Ga. (Photo by Dan Harr/Invision/AP Images)

Rock ’n’ roll – that intoxicating sound of lust and rebellion forged from raucous vocals, electric guitars, drums, and keyboards – might be dead in certain circles. But it sounded as vibrant and urgent as ever Sunday night at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. John Fogerty, in great voice, brought a rush of bliss and perhaps even a modicum of recklessness to the stately, nearly full 2,610-seat Carol Morsani Hall.

During a two-hour-plus show that included the many classics Fogerty wrote and recorded with Creedence Clearwater Revival, as well as solo smashes and choice covers from the golden era of rock ’n’ roll, Fogerty grabbed the audience and obliterated the notion of a mere nostalgia show. His verve was infectious. A remarkably youthful 68-year-old wearing his trademark blue flannel shirt and a pair of denim jeans, Fogerty performed with a grin of genuine jubilation that rarely left his face. He even jumped in place and ran across the stage; but never like a showman, just a man excited to be sharing space with a couple thousand others with similar convictions about the power of rock ’n’ roll.

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John Fogerty brought his "Wrote A Song For Everyone" tour to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa on Sunday, October 27, 2013. Here's Fogerty, wearing what appears to be the same outfit, at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park on Friday, October 25, 2013, in Alpharetta, Ga. (Photo by Dan Harr/Invision/AP Images)

The concert opened with the fun, rowdy road song “Travelin’ Band” and then Fogerty announced he would be performing CCR’s classic 1970 album “Cosmo’s Factory” in its entirety. The fact that he didn’t play the songs in the exact order as they appear on the LP didn’t matter and by the evening’s third number, “Ramble Tamble,” all of Fogerty’s skills were on display. The song, like many CCR songs, starts out chugging along pleasantly enough but then the tempo slows, it gets moody and here’s when Fogerty’s sublime guitar playing really started to emerge. Implementing a judiciously chosen economy of notes, he conveyed a myriad of emotions during a gorgeous, extended solo augmented by psychedelic imagery on the large screen above the stage. Fogerty used a different guitar on nearly every number Sunday, coercing a specific, richly textured sound and tone from each. In fact, Fogerty might be one of the most underrated guitarists in rock 'n' roll.

A fog machine enhanced the wartime horror of “Run Through the Jungle” and then Fogerty lightened the mood; describing his love for rock ’n’ roll’s pioneers before performing Bob Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me” and then the early Elvis Presley hit “My Baby Left Me.” The best of several entertaining anecdotes of the night came as Fogerty recalled Creedence Clearwater Revivals’ performance at Woodstock, which never appeared on the famed soundtrack because the singer deemed it sub par. The reason? Fogerty blamed the band that performed before them. “The Grateful Dead put a half-million people to sleep,” he said Sunday with a laugh. Fogerty explained that after Woodstock he came home and wrote “Who’ll Stop the Rain.” The song took on fresh poignancy when performed in this light, especially with big screen showing the mud-soaked children of Woodstock.

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John Fogerty brought his "Wrote A Song For Everyone" tour to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa on Sunday, October 27, 2013. STAFF PHOTO / WADE TATANGELO

Fogerty's five-piece band, propelled by ace drummer Kenny Aronoff and featuring a bassist, second guitarist and keyboardist, took turns soloing on an extended, stomping version of “Heard it Through the Grapevine.” In keeping with the track listing on “Cosmo’s Factory,” the band followed the Motown number with the album closer, Fogerty’s hopeful gem “Long as I Can See the Light.”  “Cosmo’s Factory” had been executed with energy and precision and met with elation. Now what?

Eschewing any of the darker, angry young man songs he wrote for CCR – songs like “Effigy,” “(Wish I Could) Hideaway” and “Someday Never Comes” – Fogerty kicked off the remainder of the show with his 1985 baseball anthem “Centerfield” and kept the ebullient, triumphant feel constant the rest of the evening. He delivered a winning selection of CCR and solo songs, including the two new ones off his latest album “Wrote a Song for Everyone.” By the time the encore concluded with a joyous sing along of “Proud Mary,” the man with the guitars and growl of a voice had proved rock ’n’ roll will never die; at least not as long as people like Fogerty are around.

Setlist

1. Travelin' Band
2. Ooby Dooby
3. Ramble Tamble
4. Lookin' Out My Back Door
5. Run Through the Jungle
6. Up Around the Bend
7. Before You Accuse Me
8. My Baby Left Me
9. Who'll Stop the Rain
10. I Heard It Through the Grapevine
11. Long as I Can See the Light
12. Centerfield
13. Green River
14. Susie Q
15. Mystic Highway
16. Hot Rod Heart
17. Train of Fools
18. Born on the Bayou
19. Almost Saturday Night
20. Keep On Chooglin'
21. Midnight Special
22. Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
23. Oh, Pretty Woman
24. Down on the Corner
25. Rock and Roll Girls
26. The Old Man Down the Road
27. Fortunate Son
28. Bad Moon Rising
29. Proud Mary

Setlist
1. Travelin' Band
2. Ooby Dooby
3. Ramble Tamble
4. Lookin' Out My Back Door
5. Run Through the Jungle
6. Up Around the Bend
7. Before You Accuse Me
8. My Baby Left Me
9. Who'll Stop the Rain
10. I Heard It Through the Grapevine
11. Long as I Can See the Light
12. Centerfield
13. Green River
14. Susie Q
15. Mystic Highway
16. Hot Rod Heart
17. Train of Fools
18. Born on the Bayou
19. Almost Saturday Night
20. Keep On Chooglin'
21. Midnight Special
22. Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
23. Oh, Pretty Woman
24. Down on the Corner
25. Rock and Roll Girls
26. The Old Man Down the Road
27. Fortunate Son
28. Bad Moon Rising
29. Proud Mary


Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013 Wade Tatangelo has been an entertainment reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: October 30, 2013
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