July 16th 2017
Influential Eric Burdon and the Animals gleefully rocked the Stern Grove Festival on a perfect mid July Sunday afternoon. His lethal band of the Animals included: Johnzo West guitar, Davey Allen keys, Justin Andres bass, Evan Mackey trombone, Ruben Salinas sax and Dustin Koester drums. The clear warm day started with the City’s own Stone Foxes band who were joined by the Oakland Performing Arts Center Choir, lead by Cava Menzies. This was a thrilling way to jump start a pleasing afternoon of music.
Burdon’s raw unmistakable voice, that gave the world blues and rock gems like “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” and “ Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, helped to fuel the 1960’s British Invasion. His visit coincided with San Francisco commemorating “The Summer Of Love” which took place 50 years ago in 1967. The City’s Haight Ashbury neighborhood was the epicenter for those boundary breaking times. The SGF was also celebrating a historic milestone of its own-its 80th Anniversary of presenting the best of local and international talent in one of Northern California’s best natural outdoor venues. The long established free music series had gathered SF Bay Area friends and families together for generations.
The Stone Foxes promptly fired up their set, which included: This Town, Ulysses James, Eye for Love, Death of Me, City On The Water (Grove Song), Cold Like A Killer, King Bee. For their finale, they performed If I Die. For one number, both the lead and guest vocalists unexpectedly leapt from the stage and sang directly to the crowd. The music supporters clearly enjoyed this move and they merrily showed their appreciation to the singers.
After a short break, the Animals were underway with a slow, smoldering instrumental version of Cannonball Adderly’s Mercy, Mercy, Mercy for the intro. Burdon then took center stage with Three Dog Night’s Mama Told Me Not To Come complete with simulated puffing at the appropriate moments. For the next number, he proudly paid tribute to one of his musical heroes with the song Bo Diddley. Burdon went deep into his catalog for the session with the tracks : When I was Young, Monterey, It’s My Life, Don’t bring Me Down, Misunderstood, House Of The Rising Sun, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, For What It’s Worth and Hold On. The riveting Burdon and the Animals performance brought the sun drenched Grove to its collective feet.
On one of the finest weather days at Stern Groove in recent memory, Eric Burdon and the Animals gave a new generation and old hands a taste of vintage musical magic from the late 60s. The afternoon of music in the City sent thousands of delighted fans into the fantastic San Francisco night.
Just in case you missed them at the Grove, Eric and Co. will be playing Friday night in Santa Cruz on the Board Walk.