John Fogerty And ZZ Top Bring A Texas Sized Swamp To The Covelli Centre

June 20, 2018

Two Hall Of Fame Acts, John Fogerty, formerly of Creedence Clearwater Revival, and ZZ Top brought their Blues and Bayous Tour to Youngstown's Covelli Centre on Tuesday evening.

The "Little Ole Band From Texas" hit the stage first with their brand of blues and boogie.  Guitarist Billy Gibbons told the crowd that they have been playing Ohio "for five decades!"  He noted that it's been "the same three guys right here and the same three chords right here," as he pointed to his guitar.

ZZ Top always delivers a straight-up rock and roll show.  Drummer Frank Beard always keeps his head down as he lays down a steady beat, while bassist Dusty Hill and Gibbons trade off on lead vocals.  Occasionally, the duo will do a little Texas two-step or some patented moves that they made famous in their classic videos.

Before their flashy videos on MTV,  ZZ Top made a name for themselves with their Texas-styled blues.  Several songs from their pre-MTV era made the set list such as "I Thank You," "Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers" and "Pearl Necklace."

Not ignoring their '80s hits, tunes like "Got Me Under Pressure," "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs" brought the crowd to its feet.

They closed their set with "La Grange" and "Tush."

John Fogerty was up next.  For many artists, ZZ Top would be a tough act to follow.  However Fogerty not only has the hits, but he has the energy and charisma of a man half his age.

Opening with "Travelin' Band," complete with a three man horn section, the party was jumping from the get go.

Long-time drummer, Kenny Aronoff who Fogerty calls "the best drummer in Rock 'n Roll," was very impressive behind the kit.  Another talented musician in Fogerty's band was his son Shane.  Father and son traded guitar licks on many songs with the older Fogerty letting the younger one take the spotlight on a few.  

Fogerty changes guitars after almost every song and he has a very nice collection.  He mentioned that his 1969 Rickenbacker guitar that he played at Woodstock was stolen in the 1970s.  However, his wife recently tracked it down gave it to John as a Christmas gift two years ago.  Noting that she had to "buy my own guitar back," he happily strapped it on and played a song that he wrote about his Woodstock experience, "Who'll Stop The Rain?"  

Billy Gibbons was then invited back on stage to play their new song "Holy Grail," which has a "La Grange" kinda feel to it.  Gibbons stayed on stage to play a great version of "Green River."  It really was a treat to see both of these guitar legends on stage playing together.

More hits came like "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" and "I Heard It Through The Grapevine."  However, it was time to get down to the swamp and make it a party New Orleans style.

 

"Born On The Bayou" kicked off this portion of the set which segued into Hank Williams' "Jumbalaya (On the Bayou) and Gary U.S. Bonds' "New Orleans" which saw several band members go out into the audience and dance and play like it was Mardi Gras. 

The baseball-themed "Centerfield" saw Fogerty break out his Louisville Slugger-shaped guitar and the set closed with the Vietnam era protest song "Fortunate Son," complete with pyro and red, white and blue streamers being shot from the stage.

A great night of American rock closed with "Bad Moon Rising" and "Proud Mary."

Newcomer Ryan Kinder opened the show with his own style of blues.  Backed by two female singers who also played percussion, Kinder sang and played his sunburst Stratocaster to the enjoyment of the fans.

Review by Greg Drugan

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