The music of John Fogerty has always lent itself to a live setting. Just ask the uncounted bar bands who, for years, have kept the patrons placated with openended renditions of "Proud Mary" or "Born On The Bayou," "Green River" or "Bad Moon Rising." Here, obviously, is music meant to be heard up-close and in-person.
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It's all the more ironic, then, that the man who has made some of the most spontaneously celebratory sounds the world has ever known should himself have been woefully underrepresented in the live recording arena. The documentary evidence of John Fogerty live can, in fact, be counted on the fingers of one hand: Live In Europe, recorded during Creedence Clearwater Revival's 1971 continental concert tour and released two years later, after the group's demise; 1981's The Concert, originally released as The Royal Albert Had Concert before the record company confessed it actually contained material recorded in Oakland, California in 1970; 1985's John Fogerty's All Stars, an in-concert television special (never commercially released), along with, of course, the requisite muddy and muffled bootlegs making the record collector rounds.
For fans of authentic American rock 'n' roll, passionately and persuasively performed, it seems that the legend of John Fogerty's electrifying stage presence would remain just that-a you-shoulda-been-there tall tale told by veteran fans. All of which makes the arrival of Premonition, John Fogerty's jubilant live album on Reprise Records, seem that much more miraculous. Featuring 18 cuts spanning the artist's entire career, and highlighting a title track written especially for this set, Premonition is the album Fogerty fans have been waiting a lifetime to hear.
And Fogerty, true to form, delivers on the promise of an in-concert album that captures the timeless essence of his music. A genuine showman, an entertainer dedicated to the proposition that every audience deserves his very best, John Fogerty on stage is a sight to behold and a sound to savor. Premonition provides the rare opportunity to have both.
Recorded over two days on a Warner Bros. Studios sound stage late last year, Premonition is both a long-awaited live album and a spectacular television event, to be broadcast on VH1 and PBS, and will be subsequently available through Warner Reprise Video.
With the excitement and anticipation surrounding the release of Premonition, the question will inevitably arise, "What took him so long?" The answer can be found in the extraordinary personal and creative odyssey Fogerty undertook following the release of his two solo comeback albums: 1985's Centerfeld and 1986's Eye Of The Zombie. It was a search that brought him both to a nurturing and supportive family environment with his marriage to wife Julie and to a musical rebirth as he explored the back roads and byways of the American South in search of his musical roots.
The results of that journey are brilliantly chronicled on Blue Moon Swamp, his 1997 release and first new record of original material in over ten years. Hailed as a true original's triumphant return to form, Blue Moon Swamp would eventually go on to garner the artist his first-ever Grammy for Best Rock Album of the year. Fogerty was honored as a composer, with the 1997 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Songwriters, and as an instrumentalist, with the Orville Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award. The music of Blue Moon Swamp also served as the basis for a solo concert tour that at long last returned this consummate guitarist, singer, songwriter and quintessential rock 'n' roll performer to the spotlight and landed him Performance Magazine's Theater Tour of the Year Award.
Fogerty's Blue Moon Swamp tour, which took him and his crack backing band across America and Europe, was universally hailed as the concert event of the season. "John Fogerty must have struck a deal with the devil," wrote Jim Farber in Now Entertainment. "Nothing else explains the supernatural perfection of his show." Wrote David Hinckley in the Daily News, "John Fogerty, in top voice, with a wonderful new band and a newfound depth to his guitar work, couldn't do a bad show any more than Michael Jordan could play a bad basketball game." "By the end of the evening," asserted Robert Hilburn in the Los Angeles Times, "John Fogerty had proven that he remains one of the treasures in rock."
With his chops honed to a razor's edge, a catalog of songs that personify all that is real in rock 'n' roll and a burning desire to make up for lost time, Fogerty rolled off the road and onto a sound stage to cut Premonition, undoubtedly one of the most eagerly awaited live albums in the history of the form.
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