“We’re pleased to be here, in fact we’re pleased to be anywhere these days,” Don Henley laughed in his opening address to the sold-out Arena. “There’s no choreography, no fireworks, just a bunch of guys singing.” Talk about the master of understatement from a man, who as part of the Eagles, has sold well in excess of 100 million albums and played to many more.
Words and Pictures: Mick Burgess
The tight seven part acapella vocal harmonies to the opening of ‘Seven Bridges Road’ was an absolute joy to hear and over the course of the night no fewer than six band members stepped up to take lead vocal duties.
For over two-and-a-half hours it was hit after hit from ‘Take It Easy’, ‘One Of These Nights’, performed by drummer Henley and ‘Take It To The Limit’, the opening notes of each eliciting whoops of delight from the highly enthusiastic crowd.
With no flash effects or pyrotechnics, it was all about the music and those stunning vocals, although a huge wrap around video screen and a subtle lighting design did add to the thrilling atmosphere.
When Timothy B Schmit’s beautiful, soulful vocals on ‘I Can’t Tell You Why’ ended with a black and white photo of the sadly departed Glen Frey, the whole Arena rose in applause. It was quite a moment.
Relative newcomer Vince Gill, a million selling Country singer in his own right, stepped up for ‘New Kid In Town’ and ‘Heartache Tonight’ while Deacon Frey, standing in the shoes of his Dad, did a stirring job on ‘Already Gone’ and ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’. His Dad would surely have been proud.
‘Lyin’ Eyes’ had 10,000 backing vocalists joining in while the dual talk box attack from Joe Walsh and Steuart Smith on ‘Those Shoes’ showed Bon Jovi and Peter Frampton a thing or two.
While the vocals of Henley and Schmit in particular were so smooth and melodic, guitarist Joe Walsh brought in a bit of an edge with his heavy American drawl to ‘In The City’ and his signature piece, ‘Rocky Mountain Way’, which featured some searing slide guitar and talk box. Walsh’s guitar attack on ‘Life In The Fast Lane’ and ‘Funk #49’ provided the muscle to contrast to some of the more laid back aspects of The Eagles sound. No wonder he’s hailed by contemporaries including Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton as one of the greats.
Only two words are needed for one of the great moments in music. ‘Hotel California’. This was absolute perfection, from Henley’s sublime vocals, to the gorgeous vocal harmonies to the guitar duel of Walsh and Smith. A serious ‘wow’ moment in a show crammed full of them. Hearing such a classic, performed to such a high standard was worth the admission price alone.
As Henley’s beautiful ‘Desperado’ and ‘Best Of My Love’ brought the four-song encore to a close, the whole Arena remained standing in ovation long after the house lights came on in appreciation for one of America’s finest bands.
Seven Bridges Road (Steve Young cover)
Take It Easy
One Of These Nights
Take It To The Limit
In The City (Joe Walsh song)
I Can’t Tell You Why
New Kid In Town
Peaceful Easy Feeling
Love Will Keep Us Alive
Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away (Vince Gill song)
Walk Awa (James Gang cover)
Life’s Been Good (Joe Walsh song)
The Boys Of Summer (Don Henley song)
Funk #49 (James Gang cover)
Life In The Fast Lane
Rocky Mountain Way (Joe Walsh song)
Best Of My Love