On May 28, Creedence Clearwater Revival founding member John Fogerty invited his friends and biggest fans to join him in welcoming the release of his latest album Wrote A Song for Everyone. Featuring CCR classics, solo tracks and new material penned by Fogerty, the album indulges in the past while embracing the present. Joined by rock and country superstars on 11 of the album’s 12 classic adaptations, Fogerty also invited his sons Shane and Tyler to play on his rendition of “Lodi,” as well as for the album premier at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. Serving as both an album launch concert and a birthday bash, the night was clearly an exciting one for Fogerty.
To pay proper tribute to the music legend, the El Rey donned Fogerty photos on its high walls and projected a brief biographical photo and film reel in the five minutes prior to the concert kickoff. When the curtain lifted, the opening licks of CCR’s “Fortunate Son” emanated from the speakers, and out popped Fogerty and his supporting band. Wrote A Song for Everyone similarly begins with “Fortunate Son,” and while the Foo Fighters make a guest appearance on the album’s reconfiguration of the 1969 single, Fogerty’s solo performance at the El Rey was enough to get his audience cheering.
In addition to performing expected CCR hits like “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” “Bad Moon Rising,” and the band’s cover of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” Fogerty also introduced his audience to “Mystic Highway,” an original single that debuted on the new record and welcomed its video launch on CMT the same day. While Fogerty performs “Mystic Highway” and his other new song “Train of Fools” alone on the record, the complete list of album guest stars includes the Foo Fighters, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Tom Morello, Zac Brown Band, My Morning Jacket, Kid Rock, Dawes, Bob Seger, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Allen Toussaint and the Rebirth Brass Band, and Jennifer Hudson. Fogerty entertains an interesting roster of artists with both country and rock backgrounds on Wrote A Song for Everyone, but for his El Rey performance, the focus was on the legacy he has built over the last 45 years.
“I’m just about out of the awkward sixties,” Fogerty joked while switching guitars between performances of “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain.” When he was later presented with a birthday cake, a “Happy Birthday” sing-along and a card signed by fans in the audience, Fogerty seemed delighted by the recognition. “I feel really good,” he enthused as he spoke to the crowd about celebrating his birthday and album release at once. “It’s like having a birthday and having a baby on the same day.”
Though the decision to close the encore to the nearly two-hour set with “Proud Mary” was not surprising, it certainly excited CCR fans throughout the sold-out venue. For those in attendance and for the AXS TV viewers who were able to stream the concert live, Fogerty strummed, soloed and belted out lyrics as if CCR’s glory days had just started. Filled to the brim with dedicated Fogerty admirers active on fan sites and mailing lists, the surprise show at the El Rey granted a few hundred individuals the unique opportunity to see one of the defining voices of the late 1960s and 1970s celebrate the years he contributed to music history and the ways in which he strives to keep classic songs relevant.
– Meghan Roos