Two of the biggest acts from the early seventies returned to Artpark Tuesday evening. America and Creedence Clearwater Revisited both dominated the airwaves back then. They appeared on a double bill, both making their first visits since the recent upgrades to the facility. You couldn’t ask for better weather. It was raining all over Western NY but not in Lewiston.
America opened the evening to a small crowd. By the time the band ended their set with “Sister Golden Hair”, the place was jam packed. I wasn’t sure if this was Los Angeles where casually late is the norm or if many thought there would be another opener. Either way the band pulled out all the stops as they played a set that featured all of their big songs and a few rarities such as “Green Monkey” and “Driving” the latter a song from their newest release Lost And Found.
Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley have been at the helm for forty-five years having formed in 1970. Today the duo are complimented on stage by bassist Richard Campbell, multi-instrumentalist Bill Worrell and drummer Ryland Steen. Steen who was with Reel Big Fish, took over when longtime drummer Willie Leacox retired last summer.
America left no stone unturned from when they hit the stage at 6:30 with Tin Man to the time they left at 7:45 and ended with “A Horse With No Name”. In between were many classics such as “Sandman”, “I Need You” and “Lonely People”. The highlight of the night came in the form of “Ventura Highway”. Although it was stuck in the middle of the set it still stuck out as a high point perhaps even more-so.
Creedence Clearwater Revisited took the stage minus one key member as original drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford was absent. Clifford had been ordered to take some time off and rest by his doctor. Filling in was Ron Wikso who did an admiral job.
The band started things off with “Born On The Bayou” as singer/guitarist John Tristao stood center-stage encouraging the crowd to sing a long. The band played every Creedence Clearwater Revival song you would have wanted to hear.
One after another the songs spewed out. “Lodi”, “Who’ll Stop The Rain” “Down On The Corner”, I could go on and on. For me the highlight was “Hey Tonight” as bassist Stu Cook helped out on background vocals making the song standout perhaps even better than the original.
Cook may have been the sole original member Tuesday night but the band on stage pulled off a very impressive performance. Guitarist Kurt Griffey had his parts down to a science as he played a few amazing solos.
My only complaint with Creedence was perhaps at times they jammed a little too much like for example on “Susie Q” where they turned a four minute song into an eight minute song. Sometimes too much is not always a good thing.
Overall you couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere. The weather was perfect, all surrounded by the scenic views of Artpark and the delightful ambience of two bands with fantastic catalogs that left fans feeling nostalgic and happy.
You Can Do Magic
Don’t Cross The River
I Need You
Only In Your Heart
Sister Golden Hair
A Horse With No Name
Born On The Bayou
Who’ll Stop The Rain
Long As I Can See The Light
I Put A Spell On You
Down On The Corner
Lookin’ Out My Back Door
I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Bad Moon Rising
Have You Ever Seen The Rain
Up Around The Bend