Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1970 performance at the Royal Albert Hall, London, is the stuff of legend. It captured the California band just as their creativity and popularity were cresting.
The previous year, Bad Moon Rising was number one in the UK singles chart. John Fogerty’s songwriting resonated with a generation of disaffected youth, not least on tracks such as Fortunate Son, which became a pop-cultural protest anthem against the war in Vietnam.
But the Royal Albert Hall performance became a legend in its own right, because the footage from it was long thought lost. When it was first released through Fantasy Records in 1980, the label had to perform a hasty retreat; the audio they thought was from London was from the Oakland Coliseum.
It was rebranded The Concert, and everyone forgot about CCR’s two-night stint at the Royal Albert Hall, except the fans, who just knew there had to be some footage out there. Something had to be on tape, in a can, somewhere.
Well, they were right, and on September 16, Craft Recordings will be releasing Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall in its entirety on 180gm vinyl, CD, and cassette, and on digital formats, with a companion feature-length concert documentary, Travelin’ Band, accompanying the release.
Ahead of the release, Guitar World brings you the world premiere of CCR’s performance of Fortunate Son from London, and after all this time, it does not disappoint. Check it out below.
The Royal Albert Hall is a stately piece of architecture in London’s upmarket South Kensington, but there’s something appropriate about it housing a visceral countercultural moment such as this.
John Fogerty is flanked by brother Tom on guitar, Stu Cook on bass guitar with Doug Clifford on drums, as they hurtle through the jam. Fortunate Son was played fifth on a 12-song set that opened with the archetypical swamp-rocker Born on the Bayou, with Creedence closing out the set with a cover of Little Richard’s Good Golly Miss Molly and their own good time anthem, Keep on Chooglin’.
In the backline is Fogerty's famous Kustom guitar amps with their Tuck and Roll padded coverings.
The audio was restored and mixed by the Grammy-winning duo of producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell, who have worked previously on the Beatles 50th anniversary editions of Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and with Peter Jackson on his The Beatles: Get Back. Miles Showell handled the vinyl remaster at Abbey Road Studios.
Travelin’ Band, the concert film, meanwhile, was directed by Bob Smeaton, another Grammy winner whose credits include The Beatles Anthology, and was narrated by Oscar-winning actor and guitar player Jeff Bridges. The documentary picks up the CCR story from their roots in El Cerrito, California, all the way to the stage at the Albert Hall.
Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall (opens in new tab) is available to presave and preorder now via Craft Recordings, shipping September 16 for vinyl, CD and cassette. A deluxe box-set edition, that also includes the film and is limited to 5,000 copies, is also available for pre-order, shipping November 18.