This poorly recorded double-record set shows John Fogerty’s musical personality in a somewhat different light from his studio recordings. Although he runs through the songs with characteristic discipline, he seems looser and occasionally more energetic than usual. Playing in front of enthusiastic crowds in 1971, he was less inhibited and the resulting sense of freedom elevates the performances of most of the uptempo material — although he and the band then prove unable to calm themselves down sufficiently to handle the subtler, moderate-paced numbers, the lovely “Lodi” suffering most in the process. The nine-song run-through of hits that fills sides two and three is often fun, even if only “Hey Tonight” adds anything substantial to its original studio-recorded version.
The tightness of the performance of the singles hits is undercut by the longer performances on sides one and four. I dislike songs based on a single chord and find both “Born on the Bayou” and “Keep On Chooglin'” rather dull as a result. That latter takes up the entire last side and is marred by a terrible harp solo, limited melodic content and repetitiveness. But, like several other cuts, it gives ample room for Fogerty’s exceptional rock-rhythm guitar playing, and it contains a nice move into “Pagan Baby,” as well as some good, simple rock dynamics.
Fogerty’s voice doesn’t wear well over the four sides and the inability of bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford to supplement it with anything else of interest is far more apparent in concert than it ever was in the studio. The gap between his and their abilities provides the obvious explanation for the group’s demise.