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Come with me for a short trip on the ‘Way-back Machine’. (Who among you remembers that one?) It’s 1968 and I’m playing in my first band, and we’re working on the Creedence Clearwater Revival version of Suzie Q. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that someday I would think of Doug Clifford and Stu Cook as being among my friends. Fifty one years later, after seeing them multiple times (‘Revisited’, that is) and having had the privilege of interviewing Stu and Doug a few times, Stu announces to the audience at The Nugget CCR show Friday night that this is their final tour.
CCR first formed 51 years ago, and the ‘Revisited’ project recently celebrated their 25th anniversary. This is truly the end of an era. The Nugget Ballroom was near capacity for this show. I’m sure that if they had shared that this was the last chance to see a show, it would have been sold out quickly.
Shortly before show time, I was walking around the ballroom up near the stage when I saw Stu through a crack in the curtains next to the stage, so I pocked my head in and said hello to the band. Stu said something funny to me, Doug waved from across the way, and singer Dan McGuiness came up and shook my hand saying, “Hi Nick. How are you doing?”
I hardly had time to acknowledge my appreciation that he remembered my name before the security squad jumped into ‘intruder alert’ mode. One guy hollered at me and another one with a shiny badge and handcuffs jumped on his radio and called for backup (really!). Doug quickly came over, put his arm around me and told the guy that I was okay and pulled me through the curtain. We talked for a minute or two and nobody when to jail. Calamity averted.
Oh! And the show was great too. The boys were in top form and having fun all night. Besides the usual front line fun, you would frequently see them laughing and mugging with each other during the show. That’s a true sign of good times on stage. A special highlight of the show was a twelve-minute version of I Heard It Through The Grapevine which was packed with some great solos.
As they left The Nugget stage for the final time I felt a twinge of sadness that this would be the last time I would get to hear them live. Even though it gets to be a challenge writing something fresh after reviewing their shows multiple times, it’s never hard listening to them kill it on stage. I could do that over and over. A special thank you to the entire band: Steve Gunner, Kurt Griffey, Dan McGuiness, Stu Cook, and Doug ‘Cosmo’ Clifford for all the years of joy that you brought to all of us out here who love the music. Good luck in your next adventures.
And so it goes…
- Long as I Can See the Light
- I Put a Spell on You
- Down on the Corner
- Lookin’ Out My Back Door
- I Heard It Through The Grapevine
- Midnight Special
- Bad Moon Rising
- Proud Mary
- Fortunate Son
Nick McCabe is a Reno-based photojournalist and musician. He’s been shooting concerts in the Reno-Tahoe area since 2006 and writing articles and reviews since 2012, as well as doing interviews on occasion. His musical education and playing experience goes back to 1967. He is a founding member of the Reno Tahoe Forte’ Awards, and he still plays music locally for enjoyment. First concert: Jimi Hendrix. Last concert: we’ll see.