Original Publication Date: 31 August 2006
On 29 August 2006, under a nearly-full moon, the sensational six-Animal band, The Beasts of Burden, brayed to a packed house in the Ancient, Open-Air Theatre. The concert lasted nearly four hours and had it not been for The Park’s recently-enacted noise laws it might have continued well into the morning.
The appreciative audience came from far and wide. At times, patches of the sky could not be seen for the Birds who wafted above, many of whom had bought last-minute hovering-room-only tickets.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for me,” said Graham Albatross, who was visiting relatives in The Park this Summer. “I have all their recordings but I’ve never been to one of their concerts. I stayed an extra day just to be here for this.”
That loyal and enthuiastic sentiment was shared by many in the packed crowd. The Beasts of Burden have inspired great fidelity among Animals since they began their career in 1999, and it is no wonder. The group made its name with songs such as “Donkey Hot,” “Pack of Lies,” and “The Day the Oxen Rose.” That last tune aroused an ovation so loud and so long that there were fears the concert would not continue. Twenty minutes later, however, the strains of the less strident, though not wholly apolitical, “Llama Man,” could be heard above the screaming crowd. The group’s vocal qualities seemed to be at their peak. Both Donkeys’ raspy, brassy voices played well against the Horses’ whinny and the Mule’s velvety tones, and contrary to recent rumours in gossip newspapers, lead singer Alfredo Ox was in top form, having recently recovered from back surgery.
It was a concert that Park Animals will talk about for some time to come, until The Beasts see fit to grace our fields again.