Eric Burdon & The Animals
City Winery, Chicago
Sunday, November 29, 2015
The Animals may have rose to worldwide domination alongside The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and The Kinks throughout the British Invasion, but arguably more than any of the others, the Eric Burdon-led band always had its sights firmly set on recasting American soul and blues. Besides liberally injecting those elements within its rock n’ roll framework during the mid-1960s, the singer helped jumpstart the groove-based group War at the turn of the decade and released close to 50 albums across each act and a lengthy solo career.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s latest Til Your River Runs Dry (ABKCO) sparked his long-awaited return to Chicago alongside the current incarnation of The Animals (in namesake only), who even at 74-years-old, still commanded an average ticket price of $ 100 at a swiftly sold out City Winery. And for 80 free-flowing minutes divided between newer tunes and the distant past, he mostly gave everyone their money’s worth, despite initially struggling from “a very bad cold.”
The journey began in The Animals’ territory via “Don’t Bring Me Down” and “When I Was Young,” which found the headliner sorting out throat issues as his unfazed backers whipped them into a smoldering fury. However, the old adage of music being a healer must be true because Burdon quickly found his footing throughout the R&B-leaning “Water,” really got to growling on “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and did a pretty respective job tapping into the genius of Ray Charles during “I Believe To My Soul.”
From his War days, “Spill The Wine” added some Latin-flavored dance beats into the mix, “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” coaxed many more fans to their feet, while fellow recent album cuts “Bo Diddley Special” and “River Is Rising” provided temporary portals to Mississippi and New Orleans respectively. Naturally, Burdon left his first band’s leading landmarks until the end, securely howling his way through “The House Of The Rising Sun” and “It’s My Life,” both of which further lived up to his legend (regardless of this specific night’s sniffly circumstances).
-Review by Andy Argyrakis
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