Lead singer and guitarist “Crazy Tomes” recreates Fogerty’s vocals in an uncanny way.
“On a scale of one to ten, I’d say he is definitely a nine,” said one man sitting in front of me in the audience. I would have to agree, as I rarely label a tribute band singer a “ten,” thinking it would have to be the artist himself in disguise.
In recreating the sounds of Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), this band did an outstanding job. Their incredible sounds had men and women in the audience on their feet, clapping in time to the music, and, at times, dancing in the aisles, until the theater ushers kindly showed them the way back to their seats. I’m sure those CCR enthusiasts just got momentarily disoriented…
The Lead Singer channels Fogerty’s style and energy perfectly, and with the help of fellow band members Joel Miller, Matt Rodriguez, and Jules Rodriguez, presented a show that is well worth the ticket price.
Songs that were the very heartbeat of American rock from 1967 to 1972 came alive in this intimate theater setting with great acoustics.
The audience moved into high gear on all the favorites – “Proud Mary,” “Down On The Corner,” “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” “Suzie Q,” “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” and others.
It takes performers with an exceptional sense of self confidence to attempt to accurately mimic the sounds of a band that was one of the headliners of Woodstock and secured a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Tomes, Miller, and Rodriguez Bros. and have such self confidence because they’ve earned it.
In regards to the place in music history that Creedence Clearwater Revival claimed, it has irked me that an “information” (and I use the term loosely) site such as Wikipedia refers to their music as “swamp rock.” I find this pitifully incorrect stereotyping, since CCR original bandmates John Fogerty, Doug Clifford, and Stu Cook starting playing music together in junior high school – in their hometown in the East Bay area of San Francisco. John’s older brother, Tom, joined the younger boys when they were attending El Cerrito High School.
In CCR’s repertoire, those numbers with the feeling of the Mississippi River and bayou are more appropriately called Southern Rock. No matter the proper label, when the tribute band rolled out numbers like “Born on the Bayou,” guests swayed vigorously in their seats and smiled from ear to ear.
As the evening sped by, I found myself reminiscing about the energy, uniqueness and freedom of expression of the late 60s and early 70s. As the performance neared its end, one of the last songs brought reality back to mind.
The crowd went crazy towards the end of the show when the 1967-vintage favorite “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” sent the theater rumbling. This seemed to further energize the crowd that was already animated with embodiment of the music. Originally charted by Gladys Knight and the Pips, this song was meant to signal the end of the show was near. It’s hard to say if the majority of the audience understood what the lyrics meant in this case, or if they just thought it was a perfect tribute to Temecula’s growing wine country.