John Fogerty concert
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Being Part of a Frequent Flier Community Has Its Benefits — and Not For the Obvious Reasons Which You Might Think

“H ey, Brian — how are you?” were the words on the other end of the telephone last night of someone I consider a friend whom I first met via FlyerTalk and have now known for years. “I was about to post this on FlyerTalk; but I thought I would call you first and ask what you think.”

For a moment, I thought it was bad news which she thought she needed to announce; and as one of the moderators on FlyerTalk, perhaps she was asking my opinion to ensure that it was all right to post the content she wanted to post?!?

“I have two tickets to the John Fogerty concert; but it starts in two hours. Are you able to go with me tonight?”

Being part of a frequent flier community has its benefits; and not always for the obvious reasons which you might think — such as in this case. I may not have been born on the bayou; but I knew a good offer when I heard one — and even though I rarely go to see concerts, I could not turn down this offer. It was “hey, tonight”; so I had to act quickly, as it would take at least an hour for me to drive to the venue. After all, it was not exactly down on the corner — but at least I did not have to run through the jungle and be stuck in Lodi again to get there.

After lookin’ out my back door and then locking it, I hopped into my car and headed on down the highway — under the overpass; up around the bend; and over a few rivers and creeks. Unfortunately, I also drove right over the site where four people were killed in an airplane crash just the day before, as it literally came out of the sky to the surprise and disbelief of many motorists who use that busy highway. The freshly-charred barrier and asphalt pavement still mark the spot of where the airplane furiously burned after it crashed. At that moment, my thoughts and prayers quietly went out to the family and friends of the pilot, two of his sons and the fiancée of one of those sons — they were to be married later this year — who were flying on a small private airplane to attend the graduation of a third son in Mississippi.

The coincidental dichotomy was eerie: one father unexpectedly gave up his life in an attempt to see his son graduate; the other playing his greatest hits on stage with his son Shane and announcing to the audience that his fortunate son — with whom he performed dueling guitar solos, as his son was one of the guitarists of the travelin’ band who backed his famous father — graduated from college with a 4.0 grade point average.

Never mind proud Mary — at that moment in the concert, proud John was bragging about his son.

For me, this was yet another contrasting example of indulging in your passions while you can, as you never know when someday never comes. There was John Fogerty on stage performing the songs which brought him fame and fortune; yet he was simultaneously enjoying time with one of his sons — arguably one of the simple things in life which he was enjoying while on stage.

John Fogerty in concert. I know, I know — it is difficult to tell; but I did not bring my usual camera equipment. Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.
John Fogerty in concert. I know, I know — it is difficult to tell; but I did not bring my usual camera equipment. Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Except for I Saw It On TV and Rock and Roll Girls, John Fogerty and his band played all of the hit songs from Creedence Clearwater Revival as well as songs from his solo career: Who’ll Stop the Rain; Have You Ever Seen the Rain, I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Suzie Q, Sweet Hitch-Hiker, Centerfield and The Old Man Down the Road, to name a few…

…and yes — at one point towards the end of singing Bad Moon Rising, he actually did replace the line “there’s a bad moon on the rise” with “there’s a bathroom on the right”, as commonly misheard by many people pertaining to his lyrics when he sang them.

Although the song already had other memories associated with it in my mind, when John Fogerty sang Green River, it reminded me of the river known as Green River at Mammoth Cave National Park, which I visited last year.

I am not particularly fond of going to concerts, as they are typically too noisy and crowded for me; and as I have reiterated in past articles, I prefer to actually do things rather than be a spectator — but I did have a fun time last night. I also have to give credit where credit is due: although he will be 70 years old later this month, the man can still rock and play a mean guitar as well as any legendary rock star. I have no idea how he performed for a solid two hours while bouncing around that stage with an energy that those half his age might envy; but I only hope to be that energetic and happy when I am that age…

…and if you prefer to not participate in a frequent flier community such as FlyerTalk or Milepoint — or if you prefer to remain anonymous while participating in those communities — that is certainly your prerogative. However, I have found that I not only have benefited from being a known part of those frequent flier communities; but I have also contributed to them as well — and not solely restricted to anything associated with frequent travel loyalty program miles and points.

In this case, it was seats at floor level at a concert performed by John Fogerty and his band. It was a nice unexpected surprise.

By the way, I apologize for the poor quality of the photographs, as I did not bring my usual camera equipment with me — but as long as I can see the light that you believe that that is John Fogerty in those photographs, then I am fine…

All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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