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Monday, Jun 25, 2018
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Fogerty rocks Straz Center with classics

TAMPA – Try it, I dare you.


Try listening to John Fogerty blast out “Bad Moon Rising'' while remaining rigid in your seat.


The crowd at the Straz Center couldn't do it Sunday night as the former leader of Creedence Clearwater Revival treated an enthusiastic audience to a two-hour hit parade of no-frills rock.


Backed by a tight five-piece band that included dynamic drummer Kenny Aronoff, Fogerty looked out his back door and reached into a rich catalog of hook-laden songs that had baby boomers dancing in the balcony.


Fogerty, 68, opened with a raucous “Travelin' Band'' and his energy never wavered as he alternated between four guitars and showed why CCR was masterful at crafting three-minute hits while other bands wallowed in excess toward the end of the 1960s.


On a few occasions, Fogerty stretched out for some lengthy guitar solos, but the hits kept coming as he played the entire “Cosmo's Factory'' album, which reached No. 1 in the summer of 1970. Two decades after CCR was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Fogerty looked like a man singing their anthems for the first time.


He switched to acoustic guitar for “Who'll Stop the Rain?'' and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,'' and turned a traditional folk song “The Midnight Special'' into a rollicking sing-along.


In keeping with the times, the show featured a huge video screen at the back of the stage and some pyrotechnics. When Fogerty began strumming the ominous intro to “Run Through the Jungle,'' fog enveloped the band members, creating a swampy atmosphere suitable for a Louisiana bayou.


Fogerty wore his traditional flannel shirt and related a long, funny story of how CCR expected to perform at Woodstock in a coveted time slot, only to go on at 2:30 in the morning because The Grateful Dead wouldn't leave the stage.


While he struggled with a few high notes that came far more easily four decades ago, Fogerty's passion for his songs proved infectious. And by the time the group dug into the churning rhythm of “Down on the Corner,'' everyone was standing and swaying to the good-time beat.


As an angry “Fortunate Son'' gave way to a bouncy “Proud Mary,'' Fogerty struck the pose of a man at peace with himself, guitar in hand and his joy reflected back each time he looked into the eyes of his devoted fans.


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