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Concert review: Randy Linder’s CCR tribute puts a spell on people of Paradise

Randy Linder's CCR tribute show at PPAC-slide0
Photo by David Wangberg

Traveling down from the state of Washington to Paradise, Calif., Randy Linder and his band brought the smooth, Southern rock sounds of Creedence Clearwater Revival to Paradise Performing Arts Center for a 90-minute performance on June 21. People were clapping to the beat in their seats; dancing in the open area of the auditorium; and getting as close to Linder as they possibly could. Some even began grabbing his shoes.

Randy Linder performs at PPAC
Photo by David Wangberg

“I just got a free shoe shine,” he told the audience.

During the band’s performance of “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” a song described as one “that goes over well in Seattle,” Linder received a note that informed him of the band’s intermission. But he didn’t have a watch on him, so he asked if the audience could let him know when the time came. However, the audience would have preferred he and the rest of the band kept on playing instead of taking a break. Thankfully, his bassist, Rick Smith, said he would inform Linder when the time came.

But Linder and his band never showed any signs of slowing down, once it came close to intermission, and when it came to the finale. The amount of energy exerted into every song showed they could have kept on going and going without one.

During the concert, Linder mentioned that the first rock performance he saw live was of Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1969, when he was in ninth grade. Saturday’s show was proof that he is passionate about the band’s music, nailing John Fogerty’s growling, bluesy rock-style voice, and keeping the audience engaged.

“Born on the Bayou” and “Green River” were the first two songs with which the band started, and they immediately won over the hearts of the crowd. It didn’t take too long before people got out of their seats and began swaying back and forth to the beat of the music and occupying the dance floor. And it didn’t take that long until Linder hopped off the stage and began walking up and down the aisles of the auditorium, greeting people as he continued to play.

After introducing his bassist, Smith; drummer and son Jason Linder; and guitarist Bo Wittmer, Linder exited the stage for a brief period of time. This allowed Wittmer some time to tear it up with his Rickenbacker, and the audience was pleased with his solo.

After the performance of “Midnight Special,” the band exited the stage. But the audience wanted more. The emcee, Linder’s wife Bridget, said the band may come back out for more if the crowd could make some noise. Nearly a second after the people in attendance made it clear they wanted another couple of songs, the band returned for “The Old Man Down the Road”; a cover of “Before You Accuse Me” that CCR had once performed; and a cover of Bob Seger’s “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man.”

Linder explained that Seger had once covered “Fortunate Son,” but CCR had never covered any Seger songs. So the performance of “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” was a way to “pretend” that CCR had once covered it. With the way Linder and his band performed, it could have very well been Fogerty and the other members of CCR on the PPAC stage singing that tune.

Set list:

“Born on the Bayou”

“Green River”

“Who’ll Stop the Rain”

“Travelin’ Band”

“Fortunate Son”

“Down on the Corner”

“Lodi”

“Centerfield”

“Proud Mary”

“Good Golly, Miss Molly”

“Hey, Tonight”

“Suzie Q”

“I Put a Spell on You”

“I Heard It Through the Grapevine”

“Bad Moon Rising”

“Around the Bend”

“Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”

“Lookin’ Out My Back Door”

“Long As I Can See the Light”

“Run Through the Jungle”

“Midnight Special”

“The Old Man Down the Road”

“Before You Accuse Me”

“Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man”