At the Royal Albert Hall, April 14, 1970

Creedence Clearwater Revival

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At the Royal Albert Hall, April 14, 1970 Review

by Fred Thomas

In 1970, Creedence Clearwater Revival were one of the most popular bands in the world. Since releasing their debut album just two years prior, the group had been on a nonstop tear of writing hits and prolifically releasing new material, consistently landing in the upper reaches of the charts as the Woodstock generation came into being. By the time CCR embarked on their first European tour in April 1970, their last two albums had cracked the Top Ten in the U.S., they had multiple singles getting constant radio airplay, and the Beatles had just announced their breakup, making room for this hardworking group from El Cerrito to take their place as the biggest band in all of rock. Released in conjunction with the documentary film Travelin' Band, At the Royal Albert Hall unearths long-shelved audio from one of the group's two concerts on their first European jaunt at the legendary venue, and gives a glimpse of both the band in their prime and the electricity that took them to the top. On songs like "Fortunate Son" and "Good Golly Miss Molly" CCR are locked in while pushing the tempos just a bit, sounding like a rip-roaring party band bringing the same intensity to an esteemed concert hall as they would to a tiny club. John Fogerty sounds nearly breathless as he speeds through the verses of "Travelin' Band," and this particular live rendition of "Bad Moon Rising" feels fuzzier and more on edge than the comparatively subdued studio version. The band had no shortage of hits by this point, and the Royal Albert Hall renditions of "Proud Mary," "Midnight Special," and "Born on the Bayou" are all flawlessly executed and crackling with energy. The set closes out with the extended swampy jam "Keep On Chooglin'" from the group's second album, Bayou Country, perfectly tying together a performance that found CCR at the height of their powers. The band's confluence of rough-edged workingman's rock and unique melodic character was arguably never stronger than in 1970, and At the Royal Albert Hall offers a snapshot of just how strong that combination could be on-stage.

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