Ideally, SXSW would be all about scouring the schedule, discovering unknown acts, and finding new favourites. And I did do my fair share of that. But more than ever this year, I gravitated towards the older, more established acts with a good percentage of the performers I saw falling into the 50 and over crowd. There’s something to be said for seeing a veteran performer with years of experience plying their trade and on the last night of the festival, we took in a set from former CCR frontman John Fogerty.
I knew going in that this would be a show full of hits. I assumed that Fogerty would put on a high energy, crowd pleasing show and he did not disappoint. That’s not to say Fogerty didn’t have the ability to surprise me – I was slightly surprised to find that he was actually kind of shredding on the guitar. One would not expect finger tapping solos from him but there it was. And it was fantastic. Another surpise (though not totally unexpected) was the appearance of special guests. No, Usher didn’t make an appearance, though that certainly would have been something unique. Instead, we were treated to an appearance by Dawes, who also appear on Fogerty’s new album, joining him for “Someday Never Comes.”
Throughout the course of his hour and a half long set, Fogerty and his band (which also included his son, who looks uncannily like him) ran through a set chock full of hits, including pretty much every CCR hit you could think of (the two dudes next to me seemed pretty stoked to hear “Lodi”) as well as some solo hits like “The Old Man Down The Road” and “Centerfield,” for which he brought out a custom made guitar meant to look like a baseball bat. It seems a bit unnecessary to have a guitar built to be played for only one song but then again, Fogerty changed guitars between almost every song, so why not? And maybe he can rent it out to The Baseball Project when he’s not using it.
It’s not every day you get to see a bona fide rock legend onstage. And Fogerty lived up to expectations as he ran through a set of his greatest hits, bringing a level of energy and showmanship that sadly wasn’t quite there in some of the younger bands seen around Austin during the week.