Generally speaking, I would say Creedence Clearwater Revival is the forgotten great band of their era. When conversations about the greatest rock bands pop up, before people start acknowledging their preference for Lynyrd Skynyrd or Aerosmith or Thin Lizzy as outliers, the default options are The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Cream, and the like.
But as the Netflix music documentary Travelin’ Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall reminds us all, there was a time when CCR was the absolute cream of the crop!
Travelin’ Band does a wonderful job refreshing our memory of just how great CCR was. It’s first third is about their road to stardom and their history up to the high point of the concert. The rest is the concert in full, released for the first time as a reminder of just how powerful their music and their live performance was.
But for fans of CCR or those who know their history, this is going to be just about a half hour of filler with some interesting behind the scenes footage before getting to the concert. For those who may just know a hit or two, the Cliffs Notes rise to fame that CCR encountered is wonderfully narrated by The Dude himself, Jeff Bridges.
The concert is explosive. Even if you don’t take the time to watch this documentary, you should seek out the concert on the streaming music platform of your choice.
Now, I’m as guilty as anyone for leaving CCR out of the “best band” conversations that I have had in the last decade or two. It’s not because I don’t like CCR. In fact, myself and many of my friends love CCR, but they just don’t seem to come to mind.
Perhaps it’s because of what the documentary doesn’t delve into. The documentary ends when the concert does. It ends on a high note. It ends before lead singer John Fogerty leaves the band, which means it doesn’t have to answer the question, “Why is there no more CCR?”
However, that doesn’t make it any less entertaining. I’m just attempting to set your expectations. This is a concert and music documentary combined into something that is as entertaining as you want it to be, and for a band like Creedence Clearwater Revival, it covers basically everything before the fall(ing out).
If you want to know why Fogerty left, this won’t answer your question. But if you want an idea of why CCR should always be in the conversation with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones? It will absolutely give you examples A through Z!