John Fogerty January 15, 16, 20, 22, 23, 8 p.m., $60-$200. Venetian Theatre, 702-414-9000.
John Fogerty, speaking with a perfect John Fogerty drawl, at one point tells the crowd, “Don’t let that man behind the curtain tell you to sit down when you want to stand up and rock ’n’ roll.” It was a statement representative of both the micro and macro of Fortunate Son, the Fogerty residence at the Venetian that’s scheduled through January 23 but should really never end.
At its best, Fortunate Son matches the magic of Vegas showmanship with the majesty of one of rock’s royal members. The video intro, playing on a large LED screen center stage, shows the mastermind behind Creedence Clearwater Revival talking about how strange it was to be so influenced by Elvis Presley only to then see the King play “Proud Mary” in his Vegas show. With a nod to that, Fogerty ascends from beneath the floor through one of the old Phantom of the Opera platform doors and goes right into that classic cut. “Who’ll Stop the Rain” features still pictures from Woodstock on the screen and paper flowers falling from the ceiling. Perhaps the glitz is unnecessary, but it’s so much fun for both Fogerty and the crowd.
As with anything nice, fun can’t be had by all. Despite Fogerty’s encouragement, a portion of the audience yells every time those around them stand up to dance. Some grumps still act like “The Old Man Down the Road,” which, by the way, featured a nice guitar riff-off between Fogerty and son Shane. Perhaps a preshow announcement notifying everyone that dancing is not only permitted but welcomed would topple the resistance.
In the end, rock ’n’ roll prevails. At 70, Fogerty is still too good. He bounds across the stage, forcing asses to get up and move, which forces other asses to do the same. A smoking “I Put a Spell on You,” a dirty “Keep on Chooglin’” and a fierce “Born on the Bayou” showcase not only the power of Fogerty’s voice but his vastly underrated guitar skills as well. Toward the finish, we get joyous renditions of “Down on the Corner,” “Centerfield” and “Traveling Band,” with the crowd singing every word. Fogerty closes with the titular “Fortunate Son,” an anti-Vietnam song that has taken on a new meaning, celebrating his history and work. See this show and you’ll count yourself among the fortunate ones, too.