The iconic Californian rockers brought their incredible, five-star show to the M&S Bank Arena, in what might be the local highlight of the musical year.
The Eagles have been around for almost fifty years now, without taking out their break-up years between 1980 and 1994, and their catalogue is far reaching, but you’d have to think if they could survive without their leader Glenn Frey, who passed in 2017.
The answer is short and simple, yes they can. Bringing up Glenn‘s son Deacon Frey and the country hero Vince Gill into the touring line-up breathes new life that keeps the Eagles soaring.
The lights abruptly go out as the Eagles take their spots on stage, and enter with their wonderous harmonies for a rendition of Steve Young‘s “Seven Bridges Road” that instantly shows the vocal range of the Eagles is better than ever.
Afterwards, Henley introduces the band and talks about how influential The Beatles were to the Eagles and takes us into the show.
Following that, they dive right into the deep end with “Take It Easy“, in-which Deacon Frey takes lead and shines. Backed by the introduction of Vince Gill for “One of These Nights” and again for “Take It To The Limit“.
The two new touring members have had their introduction and interestingly get their moments early on, while the show moves ahead, we’re still sure that Frey and Gill are the unsung stars of this live era.
“Tequila Sunrise” and “Witchy Women” appear next, as we’re rising through the earlier country years of the outfit.
It’s time for the outlaw of the Eagles, the odd-one-out Joe Walsh to strike his cord, as he leads into “In The City“, his 1979 single for the cult classic The Warriors that ended up as an Eagles track on The Long Run. We’re counting it as one of Walsh‘s non-Eagles inclusions of the night, in-which he has more.
Timothy B. Schmidt introduces Walsh as the unpredictable guitarist of the Eagles, before entering his Long Run song, “I Can’t Tell You Why“. The once Poco bassist still finds himself underrated in circles.
Vince Gill takes back over for “New Kid in Town“, a single from Hotel California. He notably looks to Deacon Frey, in center stage, at times as-if the inclusion was for him, before Frey heads into “Peaceful Easy Feeling” to follow.
“Love Will Keep Us Alive” and “Lyin‘ Eyes” head back-to-back as we reach over halfway in the main set, and moments before Vince Gill preforms his solo inclusion “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away”.
“Those Shoes” and “Already Gone” follow, before Walsh has his time again. The band strikes fast into the James Gang‘s classic “Walk Away“, one-of-two James Gang songs to get an airing tonight.
Walsh gears up for another one, although beforehand, he talks to the crowd, informing them that he’ll need their help with grunts, and his playful stage banter. He waltzes into his autobiographical “Life’s Been Good” that lands even better than the recorded version, including some lyrical updates.
Walsh shows that he’s the definite outlaw of the bunch, always landing awe-inspiring guitar tones and being the thorn.
The Eagles setlist and performance seems to be perfectly designed and meticulously planned, yet with somebody like Joe Walsh on-board, there’s an unpredictable edge that shows they can fly off the cuff.
Walsh takes a minute to compose himself, while Don Henley has his shining solo moment, “The Boys of Summer“. While I’d wish for a different Henley song, the crowd eats it up and it gets them ready for the main event.
The crowd leaps to its feet, as Schmidt initiates a crowd-clap with the Bullet Band-esque kick drum beat for “Heartache Tonight“. Frankly, I didn’t expect this to be that much of a crowd pleaser.
Joe Walsh returns with a bang into “Funk #49”, another James Gang number, as we near the end. The beautiful juxtaposition of the original and this Eagles rendition, is the inclusion of a brass section to play off Walsh’s rock n’ roll antics, and even allows him to swap his guitars on the fly.
Finally, we end with “Life in the Fast Lane“, their heavier number from the Hotel California album, with another signature Walsh riff.
The applause is louder than war as the band leaves the stage, although they come back rather quick.
A trumpet extends across the arena with a somewhat Wild West-esque outlaw sound, and it builds the scene, as that legendary, ever-living opening guitar for “Hotel California” walks in.
The crowd registers for a few seconds in utter awe, they’re actually seeing The Eagles play their everlasting legacy, maybe the ultimate classic rock song.
It’s corny to think, it’s their hit, but the feeling of a still arena is effectively wonderous. They play it beautifully too, it’s Henley star-power moment and the vocalist and drummer deserves it.
They leave once again, they need a minute and the crowd does too, some people edge up to leave, thinking of how they could come back and top that. They do.
The return, sans Henley, as Walsh leads them into “Rocky Mountain Way“, the song that the Eagles used to play with Walsh before he was even in the band. It sounds massive, and a true rock classic.
Henley returns afterwards, and the band retreats to darkness. The piano sounds ring out, as we enter “Desperado“, the effortlessly heavenly ballad.
For the final and third encore, the band returns as Henley tells the crowd that they’re going back to the beginning with their first No. 1, as the Eagles end with “The Best of My Love“.
The Eagles continue to fly high thanks to the latest line-up, and as-long as Vince Gill and Deacon Frey are acting in-place of Glenn Frey, and Joe Walsh is still being the rock n’ roller, the Eagles could live on for several more years.
Words by Jack Cinnamond.