Thursday, May 25, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Before John Fogerty took the stage on May 19 to open his second run of shows in the lavish, 1,500-seat Encore Theater, his longtime keyboardist Bob Malone stepped out in front of the curtain to tell a quick tale of his first visit to Las Vegas, one in which his pockets were empty until he hit a slot machine for a hundred bucks. He described it as a spiritual experience.
More important, Malone estimated the Fogerty shows were the first loud rock concerts to be held in this venue, which has famously hosted Beyoncé, Garth Brooks and Lady Gaga. If Friday night’s show wasn’t the loudest, it had to be the most rockin’. After a short video showcased Fogerty’s pride in writing “Proud Mary” — and the fact that Elvis Presley performed it in Las Vegas — the curtain went up and the rockin’ began, kicking things off with the 1969 Creedence Clearwater Revival classic.
Fogerty, who turns 72 on May 28, brought boundless energy to the stage, seemingly getting stronger in voice and guitar chops as the night went on. He kept the Vegas energy going with a flashing neon sign during “Suzie Q” and introduced his son and backing guitarist Shane before a sentimental duet of “Oh! Susanna,” the Stephen Foster song that first attracted the elder Fogerty to a life of music. (The family affair continued when his other son, Tyler, hit the stage for some wild shuffle-dancing and vocal duties on “Good Golly Miss Molly.”)
Playing all the CCR hits plus a few of his own, Fogerty’s repertoire goes on forever. But it was his energy and guitar that prevented this Encore Theater show from turning stodgy or pedantic. This was a rock concert, pure and simple. Another quick video segment told the story of his long-lost 1969 Rickenbacker Sunburst guitar, used in the CCR heyday, given up when the band dissolved, recovered by his wife 40-plus years later and surprise-gifted under the Christmas tree just months ago. Watching Fogerty play “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” and then wail through “I Put a Spell on You” with the guitar and amplifier he used at Woodstock? That’s a priceless music moment right there, in Las Vegas or anywhere else.
Fogerty returns to Encore Theater on May 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. For information, call 702-770-9966 or visit wynnlasvegas.com.