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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Eric Burdon Lets Me Ride in His Musical Time Machine

I first saw Eric Burdon and the Animals live at Steel Pier in Atlantic City at the Jersey shore in 1966. I saw them once again last night at the new City Winery in Atlanta where I now live.

Here are some of my thoughts on hearing Eric and some of the same songs live 50 years later.

Mama Told Me Not to Come
This song, made famous by Three Dog Night in the 70s, was originally written by Randy Newman for a solo album Eric Burdon never did record. Interesting choice for a show-opener.

When I Was Young
When this song came out in 1967, I never envisioned that I would be using it in a classroom decades later.

Don't Bring Me Down
Flat out one of my favorite songs of all-time. I was still playing this in bands in the first years of the 21st Century. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have been covering this in concert for years. Animals played this at Steel Pier 50 years ago.

Inside Looking Out
Liked this song when it first appeared on the album Animalization. Later covered by Grand Funk. Played it a few bands in the late 60s and 70s. Animals played this at Steel Pier concert.

With his new keyboard-less band, Burdon played the historic Monterey Pop festival in 1967. This began his psychedelic approach to music. "Monterey" was written to capture the essence of that first major music festival. One of the greatest 2-chord songs in rock.

The Fool
This Sanford Clark cover is from the original Animals last album Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted, recorded when the group briefly reunited in 1977. Harkens back to the pure blues sounds of Animal tracks like "I'm Mad" and "Smokestack Lighting."

In the Pines
Another traditional blues song. This one features Burdon's new keyboard player on New Orleans style piano.

It's My Life
Crowd sing-along here. A new arrangement, but still recognizable. Bruce Springsteen credits the Animals with a tremendous influence on his decision to become a musician and a jazzy version of this song was a staple of the early years of the E Street Band. The Animals played this at Steel Pier.

Bo Diddley Special
Burdon is one of early influential rocker Diddley's biggest fans. This song, which he has been playing live in concert since the early 60s, shows why. Of course, it is set with that famous Diddley beat.

Sky Pilot/Space Oddity
This mashup of Burdon's anti-war song and the David Bowie single that launched his career was probably the high point of the concert for me. Before beginning the song, Burdon, who himself is now 75, talked about Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, and a few others who the rock world lost in 2016.

Bring It on Home to Me
The Sam Cooke classic, as done by The Animals, became a staple of garage bands of the 60s. Anmals played this at Steel Pier.

The House of the Rising Sun
What's to say. This is still the greatest slow song to come out of the British Invasion. When you think Animals, you think House of the Rising Sun. Great arrangement tonight. Began with acoustic guitar and vocals, then band members played their way in. Of course, played at Steel Pier and thousands of times since.

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Originally written by Nina Simone, Burdon and the Animals made the song one of their own. Animals played this at Steel Pier.

We Got to Get Out of This Place
After "House of the Rising Sun", this is the most recognizable hit for the original Animals. It has been named the favorite song of Vietnam Veterans. Speaks of the eternal desire of so many to escape the working class life of a small town. Animals played this at Steel Pier.

Hold on I'm Coming
Originally recorded by the great Stax duo of Sam and Dave, Burdon has been closing with this song on this tour. The big difference is this is the first time since his 1970s involvement with the soul band War that Burdon has been touring with 2 horn players so it allows him to perform this horn-driven song.

Encore 1
Songs that Burdon and his new Animals have been playing on this tour that they didn't play in Atlanta and I would have enjoyed hearing:
  1. "See See Rider "- my favorite Animals song until it was replaced by Don't Bring Me Down.
  2. "Spill the Wine" - Burdon's huge (and last hit) with War.
  3. "Darkness Darkness" - cover of the 60s hit by Jesse Colin Young
  4. "For What It's Worth" - one of rock's great protest songs recorded by Buffalo Springfield
Encore 2
Don't Bring Me Down (live on this tour)

Encore 3
Space Oddity/Sky Pilot (live on this tour)

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