Eagles - SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Mon 2 Jun 2014
Don Henley and co deliver a country-rock performance that's instantly evocative of a time and place in music history
Eagles have been through a long hard journey: acrimony, divorce, drink, drugs. And it was all recorded in Alison Ellwood's fascinating three hour plus documentary The History of the Eagles. Screened on Showtime in the US and the BBC in the UK it was great promo for this tour of the same name charting their history from forming in 1971, through their official split in 1980 and subsequent reformation in 1994.
Appropriately the show starts with the two original members, Don Henley and Glenn Frey, as an acoustic duo tooling their way through 'Saturday Night' before being joined by founding member Bernie Leadon for ‘Train Leaves Here This Morning’. It sets a laidback vibe with rambling intros giving some background on each song. Bassist/vocalist Timothy B Schmit joins them for 'Peaceful Easy Feeling' while Joe Walsh saunters on for a rambunctious 'Witchy Woman'. Despite his clean sharp guitar stylings you can still feel an emotional resonance in his playing. The curtain drops and the band swells to a nine-piece for 'Doolin-Dalton'. The stage set makes everything feel strangely intimate even in the vast sold out Hydro (through there is some echo from the drums). Their country rock bolstered by big multi-voiced harmonies as their first set comes to a close with a double bill of ‘One of These Nights’ and the high pitched vocals of ‘Take it to the Limit’.
The second set features more hits and a faster tempo as Frey gets everyone on their feet for ‘Heartache Tonight’. There's some decent banter and a few corny jokes while Walsh is his curmudgeonly self with a brilliantly funny intro to his solo hit 'Life’s Been Good’ (backed by a video projection of Walsh stomping through the city as a grumpy Godzilla). However, unsurprisingly, it's the timeless classic 'Hotel California' (complete with Walsh's enigmatic solo) that rules the night.
For some Eagles epitomise the hippie dream exploited for commercial gain, focusing on radio friendly unit shifting country light. They might not have the depth of Gram Parsons or The Flying Burrito Brothers but unlike their contemporaries, Eagles crossed into the mainstream in a massive way and their music is indelibly weaved into the fabric of the 70s. Instantly evocative of a time and place in music history.
'Train Leaves Here This Morning'
'Peaceful Easy Feeling'
'The Best of My Love'
'One of These Nights'
'Take It to the Limit'
'Pretty Maids All in a Row'
'I Can't Tell You Why'
'New Kid in Town'
'Love Will Keep Us Alive'
'In the City'
'Life's Been Good'
'The Long Run'
'Life in the Fast Lane'
'Take It Easy'
'Rocky Mountain Way'