ATLANTA, Ga. -- Creedence Clearwater Revisited definitely figured out "Who'll Stop the Rain," because it did. The forecast called for thunderstorms, but nothing could have been finer than the clement ambience of the first of the Concerts in the Garden series at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Friday night, June 6.
The garden is the emerald in the crown of Atlanta, and its lovely great lawn is a most agreeable spot to enjoy an alfresco evening of great tunes from some of our nearest and dearest music makers.
Foxes and Fossils was the refreshing opening act. BFF's Sammie Purcell and Maggie Adams are the Foxes, and dad Tim Purcell heads up the Fossils, who were definitely more classic than archaic. Handsome Tim plays acoustic guitar and keyboards, with great backup from two more guitars, and strong drumming.
They offered up a wonderful blend of classics from the ‘70's: "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" through the more current "When You Say Nothing At All" by Alison Krauss. I strongly urge you to go to YouTube and check out their spot-on cover of the CSN masterpiece. They've received almost 90,000 views. I certainly gave them a thumbs up!
Their set was full of can't-miss crowd-pleasers like Tom Petty's "American Girl" and the Doobies' "Black Water." Their forte is their creamy harmonies, and rock-solid support from the guys in the band.
They have a well-honed stage presence that belies their tender years, handily tossing the lead back and forth from the soprano Sammie to the alto Maggie. The girls are both attending college in Nashville, but their YouTube videos go back four years, so they are seasoned professionals by now. It's a fair assumption that someone in Music City is going take notice before too long.
It was a privilege to see them so early in their career, which promises to be formidable. They appeal to everyone from Boomers to Millenials. Their rockin' cover of the Go-Go's has me vowing that when it comes to singing Foxes and Fossils' praises, "My Lips Are(n't) Sealed!"
There can be no more perfect stage for Creedence Clearwater Revisited than that erected right on the lily pond outside the Fuqua Conservatory. I could literally hear the bullfrogs callin' me between songs, and while it wasn't a "Green River," the mini-bayou was verdant. The first funky twangs of "Born on the Bayou" rang out as I held a staredown with a cheeky amphibian suspended beside a lily pad. (He never blinked.)
The five-member swamp rockers have styled themselves "Revisited" for legal reasons. Like many superstar groups, their adolescent harmony devolved into discord, leaving John Fogerty flying solo and the rhythm section of CC Revival to form their latest incarnation.
They literally thought it would just be fun to play a few private gigs, but the people spoke and they listened, and now, to the delight of their fans, they're touring like they did back in the day. They've appeared on every continent except that melting one, and they received so many requests for an album that they released a two-CD live set that has been certified platinum.
Cosmo Clifford stepped out from behind the drum kit to address the audience and told us that we were the reason they keep at it, because we are the ones who keep this music alive. He said they keep moving the finish line out one night at a time.
Clad in a revealing tank top, he looked 24 from his gray beard on down. He brandished his guns for us, and it is apparent that just bangin' on those drums all day is a whole lot of working out. His remarkable Ginger Baker style drum solo was a highlight of the show.
He told us that he and Stu Cook met when they were freshly minted teenagers and have been playing together for 56 years. "And if you do the math, that would make me 69!" He allowed as how once he got on the stage he was about 24, and by the time it's over he'll be 16. It was apparent that they had a Rip Van Winkle effect on the audience as well.
They are proud to have fans who weren't even born when their songs were first heard. Heck, some of them have parents who weren't even born then!
Kurt Griffey is the newest member of the touring group, and his virile virtuosity has punched up a Who's Who of Rock and Roll Groups. I especially liked the finesse with which he conjured the requisite feedback, especially on "Suzie Q" when they took turns doing solo jams.
Cook performed the longest bass guitar solo I've ever heard, riffing on Led Zeppelin's "How Many More Times" and Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water," amongst other greatest hits.
Jack-of-all-instruments Steve Gunner looks and sounds like Rick Wakeman with his Viking blond hair and sorcerous touch on the synthesizer in "Heard It Through the Grapevine" and some nice Herbie Hancock-inspired funk.
Full of beans and voodoo mojo, John Tristao affected a bit of a Cajun accent, though he copped to hailing from Seattle. I hope his larynx can handle all the yowling he puts it through! He sounds much like the John Fogerty of our youth.
Most of the crowd was content to enjoy the show from the comfort of their beach chairs, but when they cranked up "Down on the Corner," couples were shagging on the sidewalks, and a self-appointed head cheerleader was doing jumping jacks and just generally getting physical. Security had to calm her down a couple of times lest she splash down into the bayou with the fish and frogs.
More and more got up to boogie when they launched into "Bad Moon Rising," then "Proud Mary," and by the time they got to "Fortunate Son," nearly everyone was up. Stu Cook was happily snapping pix, calling out "You're going on Facebook!"
Griffey's guitar rang out with one of the coolest opening riffs in rock. "Up Around the Bend" was their swan song before they boarded their limo and their "Travellin' Band" set off a long way down around the bend flyin' cross the land to their show the following night in Miami.