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National Beat: Eric Burdon Does What He Wants at Harrah's Lake Tahoe

Eric Burdon
Eric Burdon
all photos by Nick McCabe - Front Row Photo

Eric Burdon's Live performance at Harrah's Lake Tahoe


by Nick McCabe - Front Row Photo

Saturday night (June 14th) Eric Burdon and The Animals came to Harrah's South Shore Room and put on a wonderful show filled with iconic, memory invoking hits from the 60’s and on. Call me a bad music lover, but I was unaware of how many songs I really like are Eric Burdon songs. He has assembled an incredible band of players. I’m listing them right here, up front because they are so awesome: Tony Braunagel on drums, Wally Ingram on percussion, Billy Watts on Guitar, Red Young on keyboards, and on bass guitar Terry Wilson. Details on these incredible players can be found at the end of this story.

The South Shore Room was populated by an age appropriate crowd of 50 plus for the most part. I didn’t see many ‘youngsters’ in the crowd, but that would just be their loss. Eric and the gang came on at just after 7:30 and played a ninety minute set starting with two very familiar songs from years ago, but I didn’t remember which ones they were. They were hits from way back when. That I am sure of! I really try to make notes of every song played, but I’m taking pictures during the first three songs and too often I forget to write down what’s being played in my excitement of the moment. I can tell you that song number three was Spill The Wine from his 1970 recording with War. Next up was a new song from his 2013 album ‘Til Your River Runs Dry, called Water. I really enjoyed this song. Believe me, it’s difficult to write fresh and interesting songs after doing it for fifty years, but he did it. Hat’s off to Mr. Burdon. He then followed that with an equally stimulating song, Wait, from the same album. Double hat’s off!!

From there he moved to Black Dog from 2012’s Eric Burdon and The Greenhornes. What? Is this a triple hats off? Three new songs in a row from a guy who has been doing this since the early 1960’s is unbelievable. I have a new found respect for this icon of rock and roll, R&B and Blues. To what ends will this guy bring new stuff to the table? It doesn’t end here. Next up was Bo Diddley Special from (once again) his 2013 album ‘Til Your River Runs Dry. This was a very long and jamming song that got you up on your feet and got your ass wiggling. I think I need to add this album to my collection!

Okay, so finally he dug into the archives and played Bring It On Home Tonight by Sam Cooke (great organ solo by Red Young) and then, We Just Gotta Get Out Of This Place, his 1965 hit single written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. They extended this with a great jam in the middle that had more ass wiggling solo’s in it- especially the guitar solo by Billy Watts! Then they snuck another new one in from the ‘Til Your River Runs Dry album, River is Rising. GO GET THIS ALBUM!

About this time the crowd of (nearly) geriatrics is moving around like a bunch of teenagers on pep pills, and it’s literally time for the band to bring it on home, so they kick into their ‘ramp it up the end’ part of the set list, It’s My Life (1965), When I was Young (1967), and House Of The Rising Sun (1964, probably their most recognizable hit). After leaving the stage for the customary ‘encore’ reprise they returned and finished with Boom Boom, by Bo Diddley. This finale was stretched out into a long jam also. At one point I thought it had transitioned into a Jerry Lee Lewis song, but the words were all part of the title song. Red Young even played a few licks on the piano with his feet, so I’m thinking at the very least this is a tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis.

This was truly an evening filled with fun music. If you read my reviews much you will notice a trend. I have a hell of a good time going to these shows. YOU CAN TOO! Get off the couch. Get out of the La-Z-Boy and go hear live music. It doesn’t really matter if it’s touring acts or local artists. There’s nothing like it. Trust me on this.

…and the beat goes on.

For a more complete photo gallery, click here

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Tony Braunagel on drums (played with Rickie Lee Jones, Bette Midler, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Majal, plus…), Wally Ingram on percussion (played with Sheryl Crow, Tracy Chapman, Jackson Browne, Bruce Hornsby, Taj Majal, Crowded House, plus…), Billy Watts on Guitar (played with Red Young and Red Young…not everybody’s resume is blasted all over Wikipedia), Red Young on keyboards (played with Tompall Glaser, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter (Wanted! The Outlaws) the first platinum country album, Joan Armatrading, Dolly Parton, Tanya Tucker, Linda Ronstadt, Dan Hicks, plus, plus, plus…), and on bass guitar Terry Wilson (Gary Dayton Hill, Johnny Nash, Darling Cruel, Kimm Rogers, Alejandro Escovedo, Stephen Bruton, Little Whisper, Maria Maldaur, Storyville, Tamara Champlin, Bill Champlin, Juice Newton, Mark Sebastian, Big Trouble, plus many more and at least 38 recording credits…)

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