IT'S rather appropriate that the first full day of the Great Exhibition of the North is rounded off by a show by one of Newcastle`s greatest sons, Eric Burdon.

Burdon of course made his name with The Animals who spearheaded the British Invasion, along with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in the early `60`s with their potent blend of Pop and gritty edged Rhythm and Blues going on to score Number One hits on both sides of the Atlantic.

Burdon was clearly thrilled to be back on the stage in the City Hall, a place he first visited as a 15-year-old seeing Louis Armstrong, an event that changed his life forever.

Joined by an impressive, young six-piece band Burdon, thrilled the City Hall crowd with a mix of classics by The Animals and some choice covers as well as the Funked up show opener Spill The Wine from his post Animals band, War, that set the Rock `n` Roll ball rolling.

Burdon`s deep, rich gravelled edged vocals have lost none of its holler and it really came into its own during a wonderful take on Leadbelly`s haunting, In Pines. The fact that Burdon is not far off 80 made his performance even more astonishing, hammering home just why he`s considered one of this country`s finest singers.

Tributes were paid to those who have inspired him over the years with Memphis Slim`s Mother Earth being particularly poignant. Burdon`s own Bo Diddley Special paid homage to the great Bluesman himself with the trademark shuffle all present and correct.

Of course it was The Animal`s hits that were welcomed like long lost friends and Burdon certainly didn't disappoint with Don`t Let Me Be Misunderstood and When I Was Young coming early in the set leaving big hitters We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, It`s My Life and the uber classic, The House of The Rising Sun saved until last, well, almost last as Burdon returned to the stage for a lively romp through Blaydon Races and who better to sing that Geordie anthem than Burdon from the City Hall stage.

Mick Burgess