Just come home after watching a first class performance from the lads at the Blues and Roots festival at Fremantle Western Australia. Best show of the event by far. Thank you to The Pogues for travelling so far and giving us such a great show. Please come back as Perth loves you guys.
West Coast Blues 'n' Roots, Fremantle Park Sunday April i, Review by Simon Collins
A two hour masterclass in rocking and rolling from former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty capped off an excellent, if somewhat subdued, ninth instalment of West Coast Blues 'n' Roots at Fremantle Park on Sunday.
The artists weren't taking it easy, rather, it was the 15000-strong crowd that was laidback, sprawling out across the expanse of Fremantle Park as if this were a family picnic with a few bands thrown in.
Many of the acts brought their A-games, in particular Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy, a surprisingly electrified Crosby, Stills and Nash and Irish folk-rockers The Pogues.
And then there was Fogerty, who at 66 years young still had those honey-dipped pipes, swamp-rock guitar licks and a fair bit of bile in his system. The legend unleashed plenty of CCR material, such as Who'll Stop The Rain, Bad Moon Rising and Proud Mary.
Like a human jukebox, Fogerty and his crack band also dished up hits made famous by others, such as Roy Orbison's Pretty Woman, Robert Palmer's Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor) and a finale of [whoops!] the Status Quo chestnut Rockin' All Over The World, which appeared on Fogerty's eponymous second album in 1975.
From the classic swamp rock on the main stage to a sweaty Irish pub vibe in the big top, The Pogues whipped the faithful into [yes!] a frenzy from opening number Streams of Whiskey to the Spanish-flavoured Fiesta - complete with tin-whistle player Spider Stacy smashing a beer tray over his head for extra percussion.
Alcohol-ravaged singer Shane MacGowan wandered on and off, offering incomprehensible introductions to songs but managed to nail Rainy Night In Soho and a spine-tingling rendition of Eric Bogle's And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. Special mention also goes to Phil Chevron, whose paean to the Irish diaspora, Thousands Are Sailing, was another highlight.
Continues with favourable notices for Crosby, Stills and Nash and Buddy Guy and mentions presence of The Specials, My Morning Jacket etc.
I saw the show in Fremantle on Sunday and all I can say is wow and thank you to the band.
I'm 32 year old (i.e. I was 9 the last time the band were in Australia) and I had pretty much written off any chance of ever seeing them live without heading overseas. Without a doubt my favourite band of all time the anticipation had been killing me for months since the show was announced.
Believe me it didn't disappoint. From a cracking rendition of Streams Of Whiskey to open the show to the penultimate track Rainy Night In Soho (which provided a lifelong bonding moment for me and my wife) I was transfixed from beginning to end.
James' acrobatics while laden down with the weight of the accordion were brilliant the usually sedate Perth crowd was bouncing like popping corn - everything I could have hoped for.
Here's the thing - It's hard for me to explain, but I don't mean this in a fanboy kinda way and I would never 'fess to this outside of the anonymity of the internet, but this show was such a coalescence of a life dream for me half way through Streams Of Whiskey I actually shed tears, and then again during Philip Chevron's amazing rendition of Thousands Are Sailing.
If anyone asks - it was sweat.
For those of you about to see the show in Melbourne or Sydney - you are really in for something special. I envy you! To the band - thank you so much. Something important has been satisfied in my life.
Had the pleasure of being close to the front, and square, at Freo the other night. Made the 750k drive (although short by Oz standards) to my first Blues and Roots because you guys were playing and will die a happy man after seeing you and Buddy Guy (best 2 acts for the day) close up. My only disappointment was that both performances were only 1hr, and had my heart set on hearing Paddy and Turkish but you can't have everything, especially in only 1hr.
The looks on the faces of the band at the end suggested that they were a bit surprised at the way the crowd nearly lifted the roof off the Big Top, not even Buddy got that great a reception. Although my voice is still stuffed, in a croaky whisper I'd just like to say thanks for one of the best hours of my life, and I hope you enjoy your visit Down Under.