Band breakups are never easy. They’re typically messy, with rock and roll debris and shrapnel left everywhere. Artistic differences, drug problems, money discrepancies, ego clashes — all are typical reasons bands throw in the towel.
Creedence Clearwater Revival, one of the most popular American bands in the late-1960s and early 1970s, was one of those bands.
Yet, out of the ashes of CCR was born another CCR — Creedence Clearwater Revisited.
Original members Stu Cook (bass) and Doug Clifford (drums) decided to form the new band in 1995 after they realized that a whole generation of fans had never seen songs such as “Fortunate Son,” “Suzi Q,” and “Proud Mary” performed live.
A new “Travelin’ Band” was born.
Creedence Clearwater Revisited reminded the sold-out crowd how powerful and memorable CCR’s songs really are Saturday night at Pechanga Resort & Casino.
“Hey Temecula, great to be back!” welcomed lead singer John Trisato. “We’ve got a beautiful venue for rock and roll and we’ve got a song just written for tonight.”
Of course, as all CCR fans would know, “Hey Tonight” was the song Trisato was referring to.
From “Bad Moon Rising” to “Down On The Corner” to “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” the evening’s set was one huge hit after another. The band could have played all night and not one song wouldn’t have been instantly identifiable.
“This song is about a town that most of you have been to at one time or another,” said Cook, introducing one of their most popular songs, “Lodi.”
Singer and rhythm guitarist Trisato has original CCR lead singer John Fogerty’s swamp drawl down pat. His “bayou growl” -style vocals took center stage and left no one wondering if a Revival reunion would ever take place. There’s no need.
And while Trisato sounded eerily like Fogerty, lead guitarist Kurt Griffey played just like him, almost note-for-note. So much of CCR’s signature sound comes from the guitar riffs, melodies and solos, and Griffey nailed each and every one. Hey may have been the evening’s MVP.
Case in point? The 15 minute-plus “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” jam.
Though each band member showcased his talents via individual solos at the appropriate points during “Grapevine,” it was Griffey who fueled the song to its dizzying heights, conjuring the rock spirits of the 1960s while firmly keeping the music current, tasteful and powerful.
Of course, the songs would have fallen apart without the “chooglin” Cook/Clifford rhythm section, one that has been playing together for over half a century.
“Stu said it was 50 years, but it was actually 55 years ago we met,” corrected Clifford.
By evening’s end, as CCR encores included a cover of James Brown’s “Think” and their own fiery rocker “Up Around The Bend,” even security couldn’t keep the throngs of fans from dancing in the aisles, celebrating the music of America’s preeminent rock band.
For further information on upcoming shows at Pechanga Resort & Casino, visit www.pechanga.com.
Chris Baptiste is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.