Sunday night wasn’t just a full moon, it was a super moon. And it wasn’t just any animal that was set free in Nashville; it was The Animal.
He was more than a casual acquaintance to the most legendary musicians of the 60’s and 70’s, and he was well respected by them. Commanding and powerful, if Eric Burdon’s voice didn’t knock a hole in a wall, he could stare a hole through it with his intense gaze.
The singer, songwriter, and cover song artist extraordinaire performed for a sold-out show at City Winery in Nashville, Tennessee Sunday night. Eric strolled onto the stage right on time, with a seven-piece band complete with brass, still just as cool and charismatic as ever. The Eggman got straight to business with Mama Told Me Not To Come; a song that was written by Randy Newman for Eric’s first solo album and made popular by the group Three Dog Night.
He expressed sorrow and said that there was no better place to be than in Nashville doing a show in honor of the greats who have passed this week, Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell. Then sang a piece of his life to us with, When I was young. You didn’t have to listen close to hear the same conviction of disappointment in his voice when he sang, “My Faith was so much stronger then, I believed in fellow man, and I was much older then/ when I was young”.
Eric used the space between songs for quick music history lessons and the smiling audience enjoyed it. With arms extended he bowed lovingly to Ma Rainey and the band broke into C C Rider. It was what you expect from a CC Rider cover, but with a trombone solo to make it more exciting to swallow. He talked to us about the “most interesting person in Rock, Bo Diddley” and of course paid homage to him with Bo Diddley Special.
The rock and roll luminary told us a story about Leadbelly being released from jail for homicide. Then went on to sing a gripping and fiery version of, In The Pines. A song with an unknown writer but many people commonly associated it with Leadbelly. Eric stopped everyone in their tracks with his version and the crowd was really into it.
Musician Langhorn Slim was in the audience enjoying the performance. A quick chat with him revealed he is a big fan of Burdon and Screaming Jay Hawkins. Speaking of Screaming Jay, I couldn’t help but feel as if I was hearing his voice come out of Eric at times. It wasn’t just the bellows of his tones and the pronunciation of his words, but also the soul that was pouring out. If you were wondering, he hasn’t lost his touch.
The band rounded off the night with Sam Cook’s Bring It On Home and two of The Animals biggest hits: Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood originally written for Nina Simone, and House of the Rising Sun. The crowd genuinely enjoyed themselves and gave Eric and The Animals a long standing ovation.
Eric left the stage and people were chatting among themselves hoping for an encore. Eric and the band did not disappoint his cheering fans. My table mates were guessing which songs he would pick. “Spill The Wine”! one lady yelled. But without disappointing her, they treated us to We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, It’s My Life, and Sam and Dave’s, Hold on.
I enjoyed myself through and through and felt it was a great honor to hear one of the greatest voices in Rock N Roll. This is not a concert you will want to miss. I strongly suggest you check his tour schedule and grab your tickets quick because this shows sell out fast.