As Eric Burdon walked onto the stage at Hamden’s Town Center Park for his performance on Friday, June 15, the band was playing the intro to “Spill The Wine” his flavorful 1970 hit with War. Burdon launched into the song, and from then on it was a musical journey through his catalog of hits with The Animals, as well as a couple of surprises. His gruff, bluesy voice is still powerful, if a bit rough at times. The early part of the set featured deeper cuts like “When I Was Young” and “Monterey,” as well as a more recent Burdon penned tune called “Bo Diddley Special.” Burdon also did some interesting covers, including the Ian Drury & The Blockhead’s new wave track “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” and a very cool version of singer-songwriter Randy Newman’s “Mama Told Me Not To Come,” originally a hit for Three Dog Night. He also did a tribute to the late David Bowie, performing “Space Oddity” in a medley with The Animals 1968 psychedelic opus “Sky Pilot.”
But it was the latter part of the show that brought the crowd to their feet, as Burdon and the band grooved into the hit “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, which was followed by “Don’t Bring Me Down” and, of course, the classic “House of the Rising Sun.” After that, it seemed the all too brief concert was over, but the group returned for an encore which included “We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place” and a rousing version of the Sam & Dave classic “Hold On, I’m Comin” to climax the show. The talented band, including Davey Allen on piano, Johnzo West on guitar and Ruben Salinas on sax, were excellent, and had some powerful interplay with Burdon. Kudos also go out to local rockers The Doug Wahlberg Band, who opened the show with an excellent set of tasty, guitar driven rock & roll. All in all, it was an entertaining, enjoyable night of music.
Spill the Wine
When I Was Young
Bo Diddley Special
In the Pines (Leadbelly cover)
Mama Told Me Not to Come (Randy Newman cover)
Space Oddity / Sky Pilot (Bowie tribute)
Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick (Ian Drury & The Blockheads cover)
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Don't Bring Me Down
The House of the Rising Sun
We've Gotta Get Out of This Place
It's My Life
Hold On, I'm Comin'