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Wednesday, 18 May 2016 |
Eric Burdon & The Animals
The Palais Theatre was buzzing with middle aged music fans wanting to witness a piece of rock history on a mild autumn night in Melbourne. Some of the fans had traveled from regional areas to witness a legend in action. Excitement was in the air and for the capacity crowd, expectations were high.
The Palais was looking her best, with warm lighting, those comfortable old style cinema chairs, the gorgeous high dome ceiling, gilded gold trimmings décor throughout and a large stage that beckons a performance of some glory. What a majestic venue to listen to live music.
Tonight the audience were going to get a triple treat. Renee Geyer and The Black Sorrow are the support acts. Renee was first to appear and it was great to see Australia’s queen of soul still doing her thing with her unique style. Her voice was strong and her rendition of a Paul Kelly song called, “Foggy Highway” was poignant and the audience lapped it up.
Next came Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows putting on a high energy show, that was at times, more reminiscent of Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons. Joe playing an orange Gretsch guitar and occasionally on saxophone, was singing like there was no tomorrow, hitting all the right notes. The band was tight and really rocked the socks off the crowd, who were enthused by what they were experiencing. They played a song called “Love You Anyhow” from their forthcoming album entitled, “Faithful Solitude”, to be released in September. And what a fabulous song it was. Make sure you put them on your must see live list, when they tour next. You will not regret it.
Finally, what everyone came to see was about to begin. The Animals came out on stage and took their place. A six-piece band including a horn section with both a saxophone and trombone player began playing their great hit “Spill the Wine”. A little white haired man wearing dark sun glasses strolled casually on stage to a welcoming cheering applause. It was the 75-year-old Eric Burdon looking extremely relaxed and oozed cool. Dressed all in black, he was wearing a black shirt on top of a black vee-neck t-shirt with a visibly large peace sign on the front, reminiscent of the 60’s flower power era.
Eric calmly grabbed the microphone and began to sing the words to “Spill the Wine”. WOW how could his voice be so strong and clear, sounding exactly like he did in the 60’s. I somehow expected him to sing and sound a la Bob Dylan, with a croaky and scratchy voice but this was not to be. In fact, by the end of the concert, his voice seemed even stronger and more commanding.
The band oozed rock’n’roll, the trombone player begins blowing octaves when they start playing their next song “CC Rider”. The drummer goes wild. The crowd is lapping it up, evident by the loud applause, cheers and whistles. Eric is walking around the stage engaging the audience. By the time the band goes into the third song and begin playing “When I Was Young”, the crowd is being transformed. Many appear to be reliving their youth. An old man in front of me was rocking about in his seat and bopping his head up and down to the beat of the music. I looked around and many were singing along and dancing gracefully in their seats. The sound track to their lives was not just being played but being experienced. They were once again on a trip and loving it.
A fabulous version of “Don’t Bring Me Down” with a big sax sound was performed next. Eric hitting the cowbell and grooving along to the music. He seemed to be enjoying himself immensely. A tribute to Bo Diddley followed and by this time all the band members were moving in-step back and forth to the beat. Clearly a sign that the party had just begun.
A cover version of Randy Newman’s "Mama Told Me Not To Come" was given the Animals high energy rock feel and flavour. They also played David Bowie’s "Space Oddity" with a twist, morphing into "Sky Pilot" and back to a "Space Oddity" and back again to "Sky Pilot". These songs were being given a different treatment adding charm and texture.
Fan footage from YouTube:
In fact, many of the songs were given a fresh feel and interpretation. This was evident when they played "Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”. The guitarist played a wah wah type sound while the rest of the band got into a reggae beat at times.
Fan footage from YouTube:
Even though everyone’s heard the Animal’s version of “House Of The Rising Sun” a million times, they made it sound fresh. A nylon string guitar was brought out for this song; it was bluesy sounding and given the full sax treatment. At the end of the song when all the music had stopped, Eric's lone voice sings the words, “please forgive me for all my sins”. Nice twist.
The concert is coming to a close and they salute the crowd and exit the stage – the show has ended. Yet the audience has not had enough. Unlike a young crowd, where there is yelling and screaming for ‘MORE”, the audience are happy to stand up, clap loudly and stomp their feet. The band quickly comes back onstage. The encore formality is over and its now back to the music.
They begin once again with blast. They play the classic “It’s My Life” and everyone knows all the words. The crowd is now pumped and primed for the last song of the evening. The music starts with a big band sounding rendition of Sam & Dave’s, “Hold On I’m Coming”. The song has a funky feel and the horn section is going wild. Everyone is tapping their feet and grooving along. The song is about to finish and Eric thanks the audience and leaves the stage. Meanwhile, the band is still playing and complete the song with a crescendo. The audience are now on their feet. They give the band a standing ovation. The trip is over and everyone is on a high.
If you get the chance to see Eric Burdon and the Animals while on tour, take it. Don’t miss out. This legend is the real deal and in extra fine form. A concert not to be missed.
Live concert photography by Stephen Boxshall of Rag and Bone Photography.
Setlist photo from Yoshi Uemura via Facebook.
Eric Burdon & The Animals 2016 Australian Tour
There are three more concert left on his current tour.
20th May - EVAN THEATRE, PENRITH
21st May - EVENTS CENTRE, CALOUNDRA
With special guest Kevin Borich (solo)
22nd May BLUES ON BROADBEACH BLUES FESTIVAL, GOLD COAST
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