Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Eric Burdon and The Animals made a return performance to the Kent Stage on February 13th. Ranked #57 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “Top 100 Singers Of All Time,” Burdon’s deep baritone was in fine form as he belted out classics from The Animals, War and even a few blues cover tunes.

Although there isn’t an original member in this version of The Animals, this five piece band which included a keyboardist, percussionist, drummer, bassist and lead guitarist, more than held their own. Even Burdon himself got into the action by playing the cowbell and tambourine sporadically throughout the evening. The Animals opened the show with the classic “See See Rider” which let the standing-room-only audience know that they were going to be in for a night of blued-eyed soul.

Wearing black jeans, t-shirt, leather jacket and his trademarked sunglasses Burdon thanked the crowd for coming out on such a cold and snowy evening.

The packed house heated up once the opening strands of The Animals’ classics such as “Don’t Let Me Down,” “When I Was Young” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” were played. Not being one to shy away from his influences, Burdon and the band played a three-pack of blues song including Lula Reed’s “I’ll Drown In My Tears,” Bo Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me” and Ray Charles’ “Mess Around.”

Burdon told a story about going to Bo Diddley’s 2008 funeral in Florida. He said that he had never been to an open casket funeral and was kind of freaked out by it. He said when he got up to Bo, he felt compelled to kiss his hero on the cheek. Just as he was leaning over, he thought he heard a voice that said “I ain’t dead yet, I just wanted to see who would come to my funeral.”  Shaking off the delusion, Eric decided not to lay one on him. He later wrote a song about his hero called “Bo Diddley Special” which pays homage to the tune “Hey! Bo Diddley.”

The first set ended with “House of the Rising Sun” and “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” where the keyboardist took the spotlight for an inspired solo on the keys as well as the Hammond B3 organ.

Exiting the stage before the encore, Burdon tripped over a cable and took a scary spill. After being helped up, and taking a few minutes to brush himself off, the 74-year old Burdon swaggered back to the stage to close the show with “Spill the Wine” and the anthem “It’s My Life.”

The sold out crowd left the historic venue happy to relive the songs from their youth. Thanks to Tom and everyone at the Kent Stage for hosting another great evening of classic rock.