Despite their "legendary rock band" status, it was clear even to The Eagles on Saturday night that they weren’t the only attraction.
“Look at this beautiful, brand-new arena!” bassist Timothy B. Schmit smiled from the stage after a few songs had been played in the towering KFC Yum! Center. The sold-out crowd roared with applause.
The Eagles are an interesting group to watch on stage. While their finest moments come from the harmonies they hit together, they each fulfill a specific role when performing – almost like actors playing parts. The aforementioned Schmit is the quiet support player, rarely stepping out of the shadows, but always smiling and carrying the low end without fail. Guitarist/pianist Glenn Frey is the fun-loving host, the unassuming, flannel-wearing guy you want to drink beer with. Guitarist/percussionist Don Henley handles the band’s sex appeal, with a simple but smoldering command of the stage when he is given the microphone. And lead guitarist Joe Walsh – he is the ultimate class clown who just happens to know how to strangle an electric guitar in all of the right ways.
Together with a tight-knit group of support players (led by the impressive guitar playing of Stuart Smith) that have been the fulfillment of the Eagles live sound for almost a decade, these four characters create a layered country rock and roll show with enough texture and changes to never lose steam.
With two sets and multiple encores together clocking in at three full hours, the concert Saturday night featured every aspect of the Eagles – and several other aspects of its members.
The group opened both sets with a flurry of songs from their latest release A Long Road Out of Eden, taking time twice to do fully a cappella entries that highlighted the group’s ability to still pull off their trademark sound. It is impressive to hear how little shine has been lost from the four performing voices, even after 40 years.
But the emphasis was still on the hits that have made The Eagles a household name. Hardly a half hour into the evening, the classic album cover was projected on the giant screen behind the band while a trumpet solo announced the opening strains of “Hotel California.” Later, the band sat on stools and led the crowd through a sing-along of “Take it to the Limit” – a tune Frey introduced as “our credit card song.” And throughout the evening, Henley and Walsh were given opportunities to play some of their biggest musical moments apart from The Eagles, including Henley’s “Boys of Summer” and Walsh’s James Gang era “Funk #49.”
Want to see the full setlist? Check it out here.
Photos: Brian Eichenberger