The Long Road Home in Concert
First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2006, Volume 13, #7
Written by John Metzger
The situation in Iraq looked bad in 2004 when John Fogerty first released Deja Vu (All Over Again), the title track and first single from his latest studio effort. Nevertheless, there still was the glimmer of hope that a peaceful resolution and quick withdrawal of American forces soon would come to pass. Had that happened, Fogerty would have looked foolish for making such blatant comparisons to the Vietnam War. A year later, as he set up shop at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theater to record The Long Road Home in Concert, the quandary had begun to look more like a quagmire, which served not only to strengthen the credibility of his statement but also to provide further traction for his return to the limelight.
Since Creedence Clearwater Revival disbanded, Fogerty’s output has been sporadic at best, but judging from the boundless energy that he exuded throughout the show featured on The Long Road Home in Concert, it doesn’t appear as if, this time, he will allow his momentum to dissipate. Running through a 26-song set that mixed Creedence Clearwater Revival classics with selections from his solo canon, Fogerty masterfully kept his audience in rapt attention. Aside from a few pointed comments, he tread lightly with his political commentary, opting instead to allow the music to speak for itself. There’s no mistaking at whom the anger that burned through Fortunate Son was directed, but it was his solo acoustic interpretation of Deja Vu (All Over Again) that, tucked neatly into the middle of the show, gained the most power and resonance from his pensive and mournful delivery.
For the most part, however, the concert’s overall ambience was one of celebration. While it’s true that none of the tunes were vastly different from their studio counterparts and that an air of well-rehearsed professionalism hung over his set, the infectious enthusiasm that Fogerty and his backing band brought to the material kept it from feeling stale and stagnant. Playfully romping about the stage, he exaggerated the tempo shifts of Lookin’ out My Backdoor’s jovial, Sun Studios-meets-Bakersfield groove; he reveled in the crunchy, Ramones-style stomp of She’s Got Baggage; he relished the bittersweet, country-rock refrains of Lodi; and he effortlessly slipped from the giddy sing-along Hey Tonight into the funky beat of Down on the Corner. With each passing song, Fogerty appeared to gain strength from his adoring fans, and the latter portion of the show — which included the muscular blues of Sweet Hitch Hiker as well as the shrapnel-laden, swamp boogie of Keep on Chooglin’ — contained an urgency that, unlike many live music video collections, fully translates into a home viewing environment. As a result, The Long Road Home in Concert, in a fashion that is similar to the greatest hits collection for which it was named, provides an incomplete but no less engaging overview of Fogerty’s career. ˝
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box