By the time Creedence Clearwater Revival rolled into London in April 1970 for two Royal Albert Hall sell-outs, they were in the middle of an extraordinary run of creativity that saw the hard-touring four-piece releasing five albums – all going US Top 10 – in just 24 months.
They must have been exhausted. In 1980, an album of the first show was released with much hoo-ha as The Royal Albert Hall Concert. Unfortunately the tapes were in fact from the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum concert of January 1970.
Fast-forward another 42 years, and what is (presumably) the real deal – in its entirety, albeit with a sightly different set-list from the Oakland show – is finally with us. Restored and mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell – who worked wonders with The Beatles’ Get Back footage – it’s a pristine listening experience, with little between-song chat.
It showcases Creedence Clearwater Revival’s many strengths and, on a pubby assault on Good Golly Miss Molly, their occasional weakness. John Fogerty growls his way through both the hits (Fortunate Son is especially charged) and a heroic call-and-response version of Nappy Brown’s Night Time Is The Right Time, but perhaps the real revelation is how much of their power came from thunderous drummer Doug Clifford. What a phenomenon he was.