As the Eagles’ legend Don Henly took to the stage at Manchester Arena, SFN’s James Ainsworth was there to see the man in action.
On Monday 27th June 2016, Don Henley took the stage at Manchester Arena to play songs from his latest album Cass Country (Past Masters Holdings/Capitol, 2015) as well as other favourites from the artist’s solo career and his career with the Eagles.
The concert stated with a announcement stating a total photography, mobile phone and electronic devices ban, at Henley’s request (personally frustrating as a photographer.) Henley thought it made people “miss a present moment, to relive in a possible future moment… that people should just take in the present experience.” A sentiment I can definitely get behind.
The opening act, JD and the Straight Shot, fronted by accomplished businessman, James ‘L’ Dolan (CEO of Cablevision, owner of Madison Square Gardens and the New York Knicks) played a decent selection of their own country and blues music, using variety of instruments including double bass, violin and various percussion instruments. But let’s be honest, the band were nothing more then a hobby for billionaire James L Dolan, but for a hobby, were great, providing a good opening for the night and led fluently into Don Henley.
After a short interval, Don Henley and band came on stage with a beautiful group singing session of a Steve Young song “Seven Bridges Road”; lights dimmed and then Henley exploded to the stage with a fantastic rendition of “Dirty Laundry”, a personal favourite of mine. The night’s set list was a nice variation of Henley‘s classic, I Can’t Stand Still (Asylum, 1982), to songs from his latest, country album Cass County. The list included classics such as “Sunset Grill”, “New York Minute” and “Heart of the Matter” providing a nice pace of different types of musical genres, showing Don Henley’s broad range of music.
Henley also performed various Eagles songs such as “Life In The Fast Lane”, “The Last Resort” and “I Don’t Want To Hear Anymore” (performed by the three backing singer, which was a nice touch).
He was accompanied by a fantastic backing band, including drummer, Scott Crago, and Stewart Smith who have played with the Eagles for years, as well as three backing singers, Lara Johnston, Erica Swindell and Lilly Elise, who also performed a song each with Henley, providing they are “not just for decoration.”
In a surprise, but awesome, twist, Henley covered the Tears for Fears song “Everybody Wants to Rule The World” which they performed flawlessly in their own special way; it fit in perfectly, especially with “recent goings on in the world”.
After the traditional pretending to leave the stage, Henley returned to do to do the two songs everyone had been waiting for, the legendary “Hotel California” and the classic “Desperado”. Simply a unforgettable end to a show. At the very end of the night Don Henley thanked everyone for their support over “a difficult year”, a poignant reference to the death of his long time Eagles partner, Glenn Frey. A fitting tribute and a great thought to end the night on.