Who WILL Stop The Rain?

January 18, 2012
3 mins read

Is Creedence Clearwater REVISITED really the ‘Summer event of 2012’?

THIS IS THE kind of press release it’s depressing to wake up to. I could call it a depress releases, but the only thing it’s releasing is a puff of hot air.
There it is, in my inbox, an announcement that the first NZ concert of Creedence Clearwater Revisited has SOLD OUT already, hence we’d better get our skates on; otherwise we might just miss ‘THE SUMMER EVENT OF 2012’.
It’s almost a little white lie. After all, the sold out concert happens to be the group’s Tauranga appearance, and you can imagine how desperate Tauranga is for a bit of hot, nostalgic rock’n’roll.
The press release goes on to trumpet ‘Made In NZ’, featuring “iconic Kiwi artists Jackie Clarke & Rikki Morris”, but it’s the next bit that really gets me: “KIWI HITS * ICONIC OUTDOOR VENUES * FOOD & WINE * SOCIALISE*.”
‘Iconic’ has become an even more over-used word than ‘legendary’, and in this context it’s not even lazy, it’s downright erroneous. I’ve got nothing particular against Jackie Clarke or Rikki Morris, but iconic? Hardly. And how, exactly, is an outdoor venue ‘iconic’?

It goes on to describe the drummer and bass player of Creedence Clearwater Revival as “some of the greatest musicians ever”, which really begs belief. I mean, ever-ever-ever? In the history of humankind? Then the ‘legend’ word inevitably crops up: “Fans still thinking about seeing these legends perform in their city, are urged to act quickly.” Feeling panicked yet?
The press release repeats the ‘iconic’ word several more times:
1) “Iconic outdoor venues combined with some of the world’s and New Zealand’s best musicians…”
2) “Creedence Clearwater Revisited will be joined on this tour by iconic Kiwi artists Jackie Clarke and Rikki Morris performing Kiwi hits that we all know and love.”
Isn’t that presupposing that we all know and love every Kiwi hit from the past 50 years, including those by When The Cat’s Away (wasn’t Jackie’s band called When The Cat’s Been Spayed?), Holly Smith and Op Shop?
But back to Creedence Clearwater Revisited. “Their hits are touchstones of a generation. They’ve sold millions of albums worldwide and their music continues to be among the most played on radio stations across the globe.”
Okay, I’m sure Creedence Clearwater Revival has its own secure place in the annals of rock history, although personally, I’ve always found John Fogerty’s voice about as seductive as a bucket of cold water on the privates at dawn in the middle of winter.
Did someone say John Fogerty? Where’s he, then? Hang on a minute, wasn’t Creedence Clearwater Revival a band that hinged on the singing and songwriter of the brothers John and Tom Fogerty? Well, yes. John was the main songwriter, singer and lead guitarist, and Tom the rhythm guitarist. This touring Creedence Clearwater Revisited features the group’s rhythm section, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford, along with some hired guns to sing and play. So, it’s a bit like The Doors without Jim Morrison, or Joy Division without Ian Curtis. (Ouch: come to think of it, there have been risible tours by those groups with stand-ins.)
Hey, I’m not raining on anyone’s parade. For all I know, the CCR show might be a top-notch tribute. But I’m not sure it’s quite clear enough that this isn’t the real thing, and that it is all just about nostalgia, and that it pretty much amounts to CCR karaoke. But to me it doesn’t make much sense. CCR had a small collection of hits in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s that have become Classic Rock radio staples (‘Proud Mary’, ‘Down On The Corner’, ‘Suzie Q’, ‘Fortunate Son’, ‘Who’ll Stop The Rain’). Personally, I’ve been subjected unwillingly to these songs so many times that I never need to hear them again: they’re hotwired into my neural circuitry. But I know that some people never get tired of the familiar, and I don’t begrudge that. It’s just that, well, why not just make an iTunes playlist, spark up the barbeque, and boogie around home to recordings of the real thing? That would be a whole lot more ‘iconic’ and ‘legendary’. GARY STEEL

Steel has been penning his pungent prose for 40 years for publications too numerous to mention, most of them consigned to the annals of history. He is Witchdoctor's Editor-In-Chief/Music and Film Editor. He has strong opinions and remains unrepentant. Steel's full bio can be found here


  1. Will be a fun in the sun event, but its a bit like the engine room guys in Oasis going out without The Gallagher brothers and calling themselves “Oh Arses”. Would be great to see the truly iconic John Fogerty down here tho, his live show / live CD is amazing. But sadly, NZ seems to attract acts like the pseudo LRB, 10cc with one original and faux Drifters type combos, entertaining, but hardly iconic! Its time ticket prices were more kiwi-friendly too, ludicrous to see acts here for $150 that play in the USA for $30….

  2. John Fogerty is touring now, and will be playing at the East Coast Blues Festival in Byron Bay at Easter, along with Crosby Stills and Nash, Yes, Donovan, Canned Heat, Roger Daltrey, Buddy Guy, Keb Mo, Lucinda Williams, David Bromberg, etc.

    Too bad he’s not passing through here, but the CCR rhythm section band should be pretty good anyway, if you’ve got the inclination…

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