opportunity to see The Eagles fell into our laps the other
day. Veronica, a huge fan who had never seen them live, was
chomping at the
bit. I, however, was skeptical. Having seen The Eagles in their
heyday, during the 1976 Hotel California tour, I didnt want
to spoil that memory.
stranger on the ferry boat who just saw them the previous night
said they were still great, but he was just a stranger on
a ferry across the Mississippi. I also have several musically
knowledgeable friends who have seen the band recently and fully
agree with ferry boat guy, so I allowed myself to start a bit
of bit chomping as we drove closer to the arena.
Once inside, the first thing that struck me was the crowd. This
wasnt a 70s rock concert crowd. Oh wait, yes
it was — just 30 years older. Middle aged and middle class, I
guess we all grew up and now we can afford the hundred dollar
tickets. If I remember right, it was around fifteen bucks back
when I saw them the first time.
The band took the stage, all in suits and ties, ala Buddy Holly.
What happened to the torn up blue jeans and tee shirts? Well,
at least Joe Walsh and Timothy Schmitt still have long hair, even
if Walsh looks a bit like what if Nixon had long gray hair. Overall,
they still look cool, just different cool and at least there aren’t
any bald Eagles.
About halfway through the first song I started using my ears instead
of my eyes and realized Man, these guys still sing great!
They are fully aware of the changes the years have brought and
embrace them. They humorously acknowledged the passing time right
off the bat, with Glenn Frey introducing themselves as The
ancient ones, the band that wouldnt die on The
Assisted Living Tour. This is not a nostalgia tour, its
rock and roll grown-up style.
This is a very different Eagles than the ones I grew up with.
With a four piece horn section and two extra keyboard players,
Will Hollis and Michael Thompson, this is more like a review than
a country rock group. They also have another drummer, Scott Crago,
allowing Don Henley to step in front of the kit for a good part
of the show, although he spends a good bit of time on both percussion
and drums. Nobody plays the straight country rock beat any better
than Henley, and he does it while singing. The group is rounded
out with guitarist Steuart Smith playing Don Felder and Bernie
Leadons old parts impeccably. He is pretty much a real member
of the band these days, writing and co-produced on The Long Road
Out of Eden album.
The mix of the old stuff with the new, plus tunes from their solo
careers, is very smooth and presented with impeccable performances
and sound production. The staging was cool, not overbearing, and
did not distract from the music.
The guys may be older but they sure arent worn out. The
show goes over three hours, with a short intermission. It was
during this intermission that Veronica overhead perhaps the best
line of the night. An appalled security guard remarked as she
removed women from the mens room that she expected that
kind of behavior from last weeks Nickelback crowd but not
from Eagles fans! Who knew? There were two women in the mens
room when I went too. Rock-n-Roll.
After the break it occurred to me, why should it seem strange
or out of place for Rock acts to keep touring into their golden
years? No one thinks it the least bit odd when Blues, Jazz or
Classical acts keep performing well into their 70’s or 80’s. I
think it just goes to show you that Rock & Roll has now become
an enduring art form and truly will live forever.
David & Veronica,