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Eric Burdon - Festival Park, Elgin, Illinois, 24/8/2013

  by Lisa Torem

published: 31 / 8 / 2013

Eric Burdon - Festival Park, Elgin, Illinois, 24/8/2013


Lisa Torem watches 60's blues veteran Eric Burdon with a new line-up of the Animals play a tight set of classic and new material at Festival Park in Elgin, Illinois

You couldn’t have ordered a more perfect powder blue sky or a more eager crowd. Excitement swept through the air around 6:30 p.m. as Eric Burdon and the Animals walked onto the outdoor stage at Festival Park in Elgin, Illinois. It was an intelligent and well-paced set which featured many of Burdon’s solid hits. 'Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood', which was originally penned for vocalist Nina Simone, and written by Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell and Sol Marcus, was performed with great energy and raw vocals by the Newcastle-born front man. Back in the day, Alan Price and Hilton Valentine had cleverly accelerated the beat of the Simone version by bolstering and doubling the racy riff found in the outro. Bruce Springsteen claims that the classic inspired his original, 'Badlands'. The song proved to be so pliable that Santa Esmeralda’s disco version, complete with a tsunami of horns, even created a stir in the late 1970s. Even Joe Cocker took a stab at it – his take included funky organ and Henry McCullough’s electric ire, but, for many, Burdon’s version is the ultimate. You could hear tonight his bluesy voice cracked with aggression. Also heard and expected was 'We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place', written by Brill Building icons, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. With its gritty lyrics, it became a Vietnam war anthem for good reason. And speaking of protest material, Burdon’s 'Sky Pilot', not heard tonight, explored his own attitudes toward military intervention. Burdon is a singer who has respected and dominated the rock-blues genre for decades and done it justice with his explosive talent, but he also stands up for himself and the industry. Despite receiving threats, he refused to cancel a recent concert to Israel; refused to let down his fans despite political pressures. Even his physical presence; the silver natural mass of hair, dark shades, commanding posture and unbridled freedom he expresses when singing creates a statement. Burdon also sang selections from new release, 'Til the River Runs Dry'. Living in California and having travelled the world, Burdon has been in a position to recognize the scarcity of clean water worldwide. Hence, 'Water’ yields a lot of that passion. It’s more of a subdued ballad than many of us normally associate with Burdon, but it highlights his deep baritone and proves the pressing point. His more playful side became apparent on 'Bo Diddley Special' – an engaging, nostalgic shuffle – When Burdon attended Bo Diddley’s memorial service, the family warmly greeted him. Another ballad, 'Wait', from the new album found Burdon’s pace toned down, but effective. There were many moments when band members played extended piano, flute and electric guitar solos, something many of the young people didn’t seem accustomed to, but the veteran fans really appreciated. The female flautist/keyboard player added an outstanding touch, as did the acoustic pianist. Burdon seemed content to waltz around the stage, banging on a clave in between verses. The set, of course, include 'The House of the Rising Sun,” probably the most well-known and best-loved song of the set. The vocals were preceded by a heartfelt acoustic into. Onstage, Burdon still retains much of the passion of his aggressive youth although his legendary range has understandably lessened. Time was tight or he probably would have come back for a few encores after receiving an explosive ovation. The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Jim Summaria at http://www.jimsummariaphoto.com.

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Visitor Comments:-
653 Posted By: Craig Mazzei, United states on 03 Oct 2013
650 Posted By: Colleen, Kauai, Hawaii on 25 Sep 2013
I would love to see Eric Burdon in concert. I saw him twice in the 60's and missed a golden opportunity in the early 90's when he performed on Kauai. I'm still kicking myself for that. Well, thank goodness for youTube, at least I can watch him there I guess. Thank you for your article!

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