What an extraordinary privilege! Steve Cropper, legendary Stax house guitarist, the man who co-wrote Dock of the Bay and Midnight Hour, founder member of Booker T and the MGs, strutting his awesome stuff on the Tivoli stage.
This was an exceptional concert, steeped in rock ‘n’ roll history. With a direct lineage that takes them right back to the sixties and beyond, the “And Friends” version of The Animals is a formidable performing unit.
With original drummer John Steel and keyboards wizard Mickey Gallagher - headhunted to replace a suddenly absent Alan Price way back in 1965 - the band has its roots and spirit in the Eric Burden/Chas Chandler era.
Mickey was just 15 when The Animals recruited him to play on a Scandanvian tour. He’s 61 now, has spent a lifetime in the music business with a cv that includes working with Ian Dury and The Blockheads, The Clash and Paul McCartney. Steel is 70 and can claim to have been in right at the beginning way back in tghe late 50s.
With bluesy lead guitarist John E. Williamson and larger than life bass-toting frontman Peter Barton on powerhouse vocals they deliver classic Animals hits in rare style.
This show found them dishing up everything from It’s My Life to House of the Rising Sun with an occasional side-serving of John Lee Hooker specials like Dimples and Boom Boom.
But it was the presence of Cropper that lifted this concert to dizzying heights. A superb guitarist, astonishing writer , inspired arranger and towering presence, he played many of his great soul hits and, with Gallagher’s phenomenal keyboard skills to the fore, delivered some spine-tingling Booker T material including Time Is Tight and of course Green Onions. Brilliant stuff, though the rosy glow of nostalgia was perhaps er dampened just a little by Mr Cropper's admission that the latter hit, for so long the epitome of cool, is currently being used to advertise incontinence pants on American TV.