Opening to a packed house at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe South Shore Room, Eric Burdon, takes the stage while an enthusiastic crowd responds with standing ovations. When the first song, “Don’t Bring Me Down” (Carol King/Gerry Goffin), finishes I think time is playing a game on the British invader; however, he’s just getting started, as they say.
Burdon is one of the original British invaders of the psychedelic rock era. Coming from the Animals and creating the band War, Eric has a deep quiver from which to draw a set list for his loyal followers. Funk, soul and R&B are all presented in class and style as he sets the table for a scrumptious delight of spring entertainment in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Burdon takes us on a ride of his achievements through the ages. Long has he mounted the stage to provide the excitement for waiting fans. Saturday night, June 14, he delivers in kind; his energy climbs as he makes his way through “When I was Young,” “Spill The Wine” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”
He has even been keeping fresh in the scene by putting out a new album in 2013, “ ‘Til Your River Runs Dry.” Giving us a taste of it with “Water,” “Wait” (a personal love song of his) and “Bo Diddley Special.”
Like a true entertainer he spreads the love around for Sam Cooke with “Bring It On Home To Me” and honors the crowd request with “Black Dog.” Throughout the performance, his boisterous fans are up dancing, shouting for songs, posing for pictures in front of him at the stage and praising him with standing ovations at the end of nearly every tune.
Burdon and the Animals fill the night with great entertainment and classic tunes that really shine such as “It’s My Life” and “House of The Rising Sun.” Burdon gives way to the band on every song as they seem to run close to 10 minutes each. The Hammond B3 with the Leslie speakers gets a workout under the hands of Red Young, who has many years of stage time with Burdon. Billy Watts tears up the stage with his fingers on the guitar and fueled by fire. Terry Wilson beating out the groove on the bass. And Tony Braunagel, who produced the new album, drives the drums. The professionalism shows with this polished cast backing Eric Burdon.
That leads us to the standing shouting crowd ever patient to lose its voices before leaving without an encore. Eric and the band give us “Boom Boom.” Holding no flourishes as it too goes into 10 minutes and gives the crowd a tune for their whistles and a wiggle in there steps. The age-appropriate crowd gets what it asked for on this star-studded evening: a little nostalgia, a dollop of jive, a dash of rock, a drop of soul and a spark to light the sky.
— Author Jonathan Lee Echelberger is the former owner of Mad About Music in South Lake Tahoe. He is a lifelong musician. Contact Jonathan at Jonnyloveseed@gmail.com— Tahoe Onstage photographer Kurt E. Johnson’s website is http://www.photoskejohnson.smugmug.com/