South by Southwest Aftershots

Eric Burdon (l) with Donovan
Eric Burdon (l) with Donovan (Photo by Sandy Carson)


Palm Door, March 17

Even though Donovan was a last-minute addition to the Festival, the newly elected member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drew a respectable crowd of fanatics and curiosity seekers. They knew all the words to all the songs and with the 65-year-old Scot's encouragement sang along as loud as they could. With an acoustic guitar, he reached for all the hits or most of them anyway, starting with "Catch the Wind," one of his first, and closing on an encore of "Hurdy Gurdy Man," with full vocal vibrato on display. In between, there was a new song about old movies and a cagey cover of the Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon." His fingerpicking was sensational during "Barabajagal," a reminder that "Love is hot, truth is molten!" The Animals' frontman Eric Burdon joined in for the set closer, "Season of the Witch," not adding much but a cool moment. Donovan was often referred to as the British Bob Dylan in his Sixties heyday and was found lacking by critics. It's curious that when you go to see Dylan these days, no one's really sure what to expect. Meanwhile, Donovan sounded, looked, and delivered exactly what people came to see.

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