Eagles co-founder Don Henley had a well-timed jab at the banking industry when he congratulated Melbourne for having an arena named after a sports star.
Eagles returned to Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne on 5 March for the first show on the Australian tour of 2019. Rod Laver Arena is the hallowed ground where they recorded their Farewell 1 live DVD 15 years ago so this place holds history for this band.
“We are old enough to remember Mr Laver when he played tennis,” Don Henley told Melbourne fans. “It’s a testament to your culture that this place is named after him and not some bank”.
Eagles won’t be so lucky when they reach Sydney and have to play in a Bank Arena. I’ll leave that up to Don to take that up with the good people of Sydney next week.
I was gobsmacked how good this band was tonight. I don’t know how Henley managed to pull off the miracle of this line-up but Eagles 2019 admirably honours his co-founder, the late Glenn Frey, and adds something to the live performance.
Glenn would be very proud with what is going on here and at one point smiles down upon us all as his son Deacon puts in an incredible performance of ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’.
For me personally, it was great to see the precision clockwork put in place by my friend, the late Harry Sandler, is still an absolute priority in the creation of the musical perfection that goes into every Eagles show. Harry was definitely in the room along with Glenn tonight.
There is a lot of heavy lifting for this tour placed on Glenn’s replacements, son Deacon and country superstar Vince Gill. Gill is a well-oiled machine and a bonafide Eagles fan and that shows (although at some points through Joe’s solo songs his ‘WTF have I got myself into’ face was pretty obvious).
Vince handled being out of his country comfort zone with ease. He didn’t attempt to reinvent any of Glenn’s song and make them his own. He gave the fans what they wanted, the sound they expected had Glenn been doing them. These were faithful versions of ‘Take It To The Limit’, ‘Tequila Sunrise’, ‘New Kid In Town’, ‘Lyin’ Eyes’ and ‘Heartache Tonight’ by Vince Gill. They were an admirable tribute to Glenn Frey.
What was missing were Glenn’s corny jokes. Yes, the comedy styling of “my first wife plaintiff” and “the credit card song” didn’t rate a mention tonight, but that subtle difference did get noticed and it did remind me of what a difference Glenn did make both musically and as a personality to this band.
Joe Walsh … did I tell you how much I LOVE Joe Walsh. Joe has always had a big presence. His solo songs ‘In The City’ (from Warriors before The Long Run), ‘Walk Away’ and ‘Funk #49’ from his The James Gang years and ‘Life’s Been Good’ and ‘Rocky Mountain Way’ I guess we should call step-Eagles songs. They weren’t born into the Eagles family but my God how they have integrated with the family. These songs have become Eagles songs as has Don Henley’s ‘The Boys of Summer’. Add the new kid in town, Vince’s ‘Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away’ and you begin to understand how the people and their songs in this band are a music community.
That is why Eagles can exist outside Glenn Frey or Don Felder or Bernie Leadon or Randy Meisner. This band is a collective. No-one ever complains that the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra doesn’t have any original members.
As our iconic rock bands get older, we too also have to start thinking about how the music can continue when the people who made it aren’t around anymore. As our heroes leave us it is getting rarer to experience legendary status. Eagles 2019 is that.
Timothy B. Schmit was a latecomer to the band. Goddamit, imagine joining the biggest band in the world, recording an album with them that goes to number one and then they break up and don’t get back together for 14 years. Timothy could possibly be both the luckiest and unluckiest man in the world rolled into one.
Even in that short time Timothy had with Eagles first time around, he left his mark with one of the greatest post-love songs of all time in ‘I Can’t Tell You Why’. Timothy was back 14-years later and ‘Love Will Keep Us Alive’ is his bookend to ‘I Can’t Tell You Why’ mirroring this journey with this band.
Don Henley takes an obvious backseat in this tour. He acts more like a musical director than the lead singer. Yes, he surfaces throughout but with Joe’s Furious Five and Vince and Deacon collectively covering another seven the work-load takes the pressure of Henley having to make this a Don Henley & friends tour and that is the right thing to do.
Melbourne was treated to a bonus track tonight. “Best of My Love’ was an unexpected inclusion at the end of the show. Lucky us.
Eagles 2019 set list
Seven Bridges Road (from Eagles Live, 1980)
Take It Easy (from Eagles, 1972)
One of These Nights (from One Of These Nights, 1975)
Take It to the Limit (from One Of These Nights, 1975)
Tequila Sunrise (from Desperado, 1973)
Witchy Woman (from Eagles, 1972)
In the City (from The Long Run, 1979)
I Can’t Tell You Why (from The Long Run, 1979)
New Kid in Town (from Hotel California, 1976)
Peaceful Easy Feeling (from Eagles, 1972)
Lyin’ Eyes (from One Of These Nights, 1975)
Love Will Keep Us Alive (from Hell Freezes Over, 1994)
Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away (from Vince Gill, I Still Believe In You, 1992)
Those Shoes (from The Long Run, 1979)
Already Gone (from On The Border, 1974)
Walk Away (from the James Gang’s Thirds, 1971)
Life’s Been Good (from Joe Walsh’s But Seriously Folks, 1978)
Boys of Summer (from Don Henley, Building The Perfect Beast, 1985)
Heartache Tonight (from The Long Run, 1979)
Funk #49 (from the James Gangs’ James Gang Rides Again, 1970)
Life in the Fast Lane (from Hotel California, 1976)
Hotel California (from Hotel California, 1976)
Rocky Mountain Way (from Joe Walsh’s The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get, 1973)
Desperado (from Desperado, 1973)
Best of My Love (from On The Border, 1974)
Eagles Australian dates
6 March, Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena
9 and 10 March, Brisbane, Entertainment Centre
13 and 14 March, Sydney, Qudos, Arena