With 10 consecutive Top 10 singles and five consecutive Top 10 albums, Creedence Clearwater Revival were huge in the US in the four years before their acrimonious split in 1972. Singer-songwriter John Fogerty subsequently spent years mired in legal battles with former record labels and bandmates and only recently regained control of his catalogue after 50 years. “I wasn’t sure I’d live long enough for it to come to pass,” he admits in a film shown before his performance. “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this moment. C’mon, let’s go!” Then he bounds on and into Bad Moon Rising – a CCR classic which found a new generation of fans with its use in American Werewolf in London – and has the audience on their feet.
In trademark grunge-style flannel shirt, the California man looks and sounds as if he’s spent decades in storage. At 77, his voice is strong, his hair that of a 40-year-old and his guitar solos crisp and powerful. He tells the cheering crowd that he’s holding the guitar he played at Woodstock before playing Who’ll Stop the Rain, the song he wrote after the festival. The setlist is packed with CCR songs – Up Around the Bend, Green River, Travelin’ Band and all – and Fogerty plays them like he’s reclaiming them. With his sons in the band and his wife of 32 years at the side of the stage, this feels personal. “I’d probably be dead if it wasn’t for Julie,” he says, before solo song Joy of My Life is accompanied by images of the happy couple. There’s more vinegar in an aside at “record company men. I outlived all those sons of bitches and got my songs back”.
The crowd sing the sublime Have You Ever Seen the Rain with him. A fiery Fortunate Son – about privileged kids who skipped the draft – is illustrated by Vietnam-era protests and he dedicates Proud Mary to the late Tina Turner, who had her breakthrough solo hit with his song. During a rapturous ovation, he yells “I’ll tell ma grandchildren about this one!” and looks like the happiest man alive.