John Fogerty and That Guy

During his amazing concert in Durham on Sunday night, John Fogerty told a story about playing at Woodstock. He and his then-new band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, had released their second album, “Bayou Country” ~ the one celebrated during Sunday’s show ~ a few months before being invited to play at the 1969 festival.

Great, he thought. Good exposure for us. Sounds like fun.

He said he arrived at the venue at about 2 in the afternoon, having driven past cars abandoned alongside and even in the middle of the road. Around 5, he ate a light dinner and waited to go onstage at the promised ideal 9:30 p.m. slot. Ready to go. What he was not ready for was following the Grateful Dead.

“Thanks, Jerry!”

The Dead didn’t take the stage until midnight, so things were already obviously a little off-track in that hippie, devil-may-care way. CCR finally took the stage around 2:30 a.m., with as much enthusiasm as they could muster. When he looked down from the stage, Fogerty said, he saw a bunch of naked people. Lying on the ground. Asleep.

“Thanks, Jerry!”

What the heck, he thought, might as well make the most of it. As he and CCR cranked it up for a mostly catatonic crowd, he saw a flame flicker way out in the distance, the spark from a single lighter. He heard a guy yell out, “It’s okay, John! We’re with youuu-ouu-ouu!”

So he played to That Guy, the lone voice that he connected with across that dark field.

That was in 1969. More than four decades later, he’s still playing to That Guy.

Each one, reach one. Or 3,000. Same difference?

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