It’s difficult to know what to expect from a tribute band. You’re enticed by the idea of hearing all of your favourite songs. You attempt to remain objective, understanding that it’s a tribute, not the real thing. Yet somehow, you’re always a little bit disappointed that it doesn’t sound like the originals.
Or should I say, that’s how it usually happens. Last night at the Capri Theatre in Adelaide as part of the Fringe Festival, The Midnight Specials took to the stage to walk us through nearly fifty years of Creedence Clearwater Revival history; and they did a damn good job.
John Fogerty always was a prodigious talent and despite the legal mess that became CCR’s recording contract, he wrote some of the richest blues in popular music history. Not bad for a white boy from California. Last night, instead of trying to be Creedence, The Midnight Specials simply did what they’re known for; they threw a party.
Make no mistake, these guys can play. Between five men, they played ten instruments for almost two and half hours. Patches of masterful blues riffs and streaks of fantastic harmonies showed that this lot had done this before. A party band by trade, The Midnight Specials brought the pub to the theatre for a night – complete with drunken yobbos and decidedly questionable dance moves.
The average age of the crowd pushed 60, and that’s a conservative estimate. They’d sold out the beautiful art deco Capri Theatre, and to get 750 mature citizens up and dancing is no mean feat. The Midnight Specials did it with ease. A few pioneers shimmied their way up and down the aisles during the first half of the show. By the time it finished, even patrons in the balcony had made their way to the front to flail their arms about.
Musically, the highlight of the show was without doubt the 11 minute “Heard It Through The Grapevine”. Rather than try to reproduce Fogerty’s solos, the two guitarists made it their own, proving that they’re real musicians. But these men realised that people hadn’t come to critique the music, they’d come to party. Sure, at times the bad jokes wore thin and there was a little too much yapping from the lead vocalist, but overall this show delivered on its promise. If you’re a CCR fan, you won’t leave disappointed.