The man behind Creedence Clearwater Revival proved the group's swampy rock 'n' roll timeless at John Fogerty's closing set of the 2014 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Wearing a denim shirt with red bandana tied around his neck, Fogerty swiftly led his group through a high-powered, volume-cranked set with a rhythm section including his son Shane and powerhouse drums from serial session man Kenny Aronoff, who broke a drum head halfway through the set. (Fogerty joked that he received a snare drum as a birthday present when he was a kid, but almost immediately broke it.)
Fresh from the Dr. John tribute at the Saenger Theatre (where he performed "New Orleans") and the Acura Stage where he played alongside Bruce Springsteen, Fogerty worked the Samsung Galaxy Stage (are we calling it that yet?) with an onslaught of CCR hits over nearly two hours.
A recurring issue at Jazz Fest and festivals in general is the mixing board. The powers that be rarely match the mix to what's happening on stage, instead favoring too much bass and muddying the guitars. Thankfully, Fogerty's guitar and intact voice roared above the racket. From the tell-tale tremolo-laced opening lick of "Born on the Bayou" to frenzied solos all over "Ramble Tamble" and a closing duo of of "Bad Moon Rising" and "Fortunate Son," Fogerty and his crew revived the Creedence catalog that felt as vital as it (likely) did more than 40 years ago. A notable exception was "Lodi" — a down-and-out performer's gutter-stuck travels — which became a bouncy, uplifting rocker removed from its country-influenced storytelling.
A version of "Proud Mary" appears on his 2013 album Wrote a Song for Everyone, on which he revisits the CCR American classic with Allen Toussaint, Jennifer Hudson and Rebirth Brass Band. Whether Fogerty aimed for the all-inclusiveness of the set's big almost-finale, which included elements of just about every genre present at the Fairgrounds this and every other year, he pulled it off. Joining the band for "Proud Mary" included Allen Toussaint, Rockin' Dopsie, TBC Brass Band and Joel Savoy, a mash of R&B piano, zydeco, Cajun fiddle and New Orleans brass blasting the song that felt like gospel.
"Born on the Bayou"
"Who'll Stop the Rain?"
"Lookin' Out My Back Door"
"Hot Rod Heart"
"Long As I Can See the Light"
"Have You Ever Seen the Rain?"
"Down on the Corner"
"Up Around the Bend"
"The Old Man Down the Road"
"Proud Mary" (feat. Allen Toussaint, Rockin' Dopsie, TBC Brass Band and Joel Savoy)
"Bad Moon Rising"