Live Review: Good Old Fashioned Rock N’ Roll from Creedence Clearwater Revisited and Three Dog Night

Published on June 3rd, 2011

June 3, 2011 – “Do you think you’ll still be on stage 40 years from now?” Original Creedence Clearwater Revisited members Stu Cook and Doug Clifford might have laughed at that question in 1968. And it’s a likely bet that Three Dog Night vocalists Danny Hutton and Cory Wells would have scoffed at it too. But now those years have passed, it’s 2011, and both bands are on stage – on the same stage, in fact. At Baltimore’s Pier Six Pavillion, where the music carries over the open harbor, it was hard not to think about the past with the swampy rock riffs of Creedence Clearwater Revival melding with the vocal talents of Three Dog Night. In fact, it sounded a bit like 1968.

Three Dog Night has had a long and varied history. They put their own spin on songs written by greats like Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman, introducing us to staples like “One” and “Joy to the World”. And what a joy it was to hear them all performed live in three part harmony (if you get that bad song joke, you’re a true fan).

But in all seriousness, the songs hold up well live, and so do the performers. Hutton still belts it out, although he has a somewhat peculiar stage presence. Wells indulged in what has now become Three Dog Night concert tradition: a rap version of “Mama Told Me Not to Come” in which he takes on the persona of the hipster ‘Poop Dog’. It may be a bit dated, but it’s still funny to watch him turn his cap backwards and break out the silver chains.

It was a bit darker on the harbor when Creedence Clearwater Revisited stomped on stage to execute their part of the night. Their brand of no frills rock can never go wrong with any audience, and Baltimore was no exception. Original players Stu Cook and Doug Clifford may not be young anymore, but that doesn’t mean they still don’t enjoy playing.

“Age is just a number,” said the 66-year-old Clifford during the concert. “I’m 33 right now, and by the end of the show I’ll be 19. They’ll be kicking me out of the bars.”

Keeping them company on stage is a crew of seasoned players. Vocalist John Tristao is a big man with an even bigger voice. From the opener of “Green River” to the final notes of “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”, his pipes do not let you down. Kurt Griffey is a relative newcomer on guitar, but he’s not shy on stage. His ample solos were crowd favorites, with Cook and Clifford keeping a steady backbeat. When all was said and done, the two bands had provided more than enough evidence that good songs don’t have an expiration date.


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