REVIEW: Eagles, Melbourne, February 22, 2015 -
Eagles photo by Ros OGorman

REVIEW: Eagles, Melbourne, February 22, 2015

by Paul Cashmere on February 23, 2015

in Live,News

The History of the Eagles is a completely different experience for fans who saw the last two tours.

I had always considered Eagles a band with two phases, pre-Joe Walsh and post-Joe Walsh, but the show made me aware of a middle section I wasn’t quite thinking off…the Bill Syzmczyk factor.

Eagles photo by Ros OGormanAfter the first two UK produced albums with Glynn Johns. The Eagles morphed back to the USA to rock up their sound with Szymczyk producing. Szymczyk would be crucial to the production of the remaining albums, including the more recent ‘Long Road Out Of Eden’ (that for some reason is not represented in The History of the Eagles tour). With the first two albums recorded in London and the third and fourth in Miami, its also bewildering as to why for decades the Eagles have been branded as founders of the California sound. In fact, chunks of ‘Hotel California’ were also recorded in Miami.

A little history … The Eagles original band of Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner created the first two albums ‘Eagles’ (1972) and ‘Desperado’ (1973). In 1974, the band expanded to a five piece with the addition of Don Felder on two tracks of ‘On The Border’ before he became a fully-fledged member for the next record ‘One Of These Night’ (1975). While Meisner’s contribution was acknowledged in the show, the Felder name went unspoken despite his contribution to one of the band’s most famous songs ‘Hotel California’ suggesting the Frey/Felder feud (as portrayed in the History of the Eagles DVD documentary) continues.

Leadon left after the fourth record ‘One Of These Nights’ and was replaced by Joe Walsh for the next album ‘Hotel California’ (1976). It became the Eagles masterpiece and the potent ‘Life In The Fast Lane’, one of the finest pieces of rock in the 70s, is perfectly placed to end the second set.

Randy Meisner left after ‘Hotel California’ and was replaced by Timothy B. Schmit. Schmit performed on ‘The Long Run’, the band’s final album of the original era, then they broke up for a 15-year hiatus. “It wasn’t funny at the time,” he said at last night’s show. It did generate one of the band’s best-known ballads ‘I Can’t Tell You Why’, Timothy’s finest contribution to the band.

Eagles photo by Ros OGormanEagles reformed in 1994, as documented on the live album ‘Hell Freezes Over’. Schmit shared the spotlight one more time with the stunning ‘Love Will Keep Us Alive’, also included in the History of the Eagles setlist. It was another great moment for the Eagles ‘Johnny come-lately, their new kid in town’.

Bernie Leadon’s addition to this line-up makes this show special. This tour is his first time as an Eagle with Schmit and Walsh so fans are also being treated to a unique combination. After the show starts with just Henley and Frey performing an early Eagles song ‘Saturday Night’, Leadon comes on to sing ‘Train Leaves Here This Morning’, a song he wrote in 1968 with Gene Clark from The Byrds for their album ‘The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard and Clark’. It is the oldest song in this set effectively making it ‘The Big Bang Theory’ of the Eagles current set.

Eagles Bernie Leadon photo by Ros OGormanLeadon also co-wrote ‘Witchy Woman’, given a totally different arrangement for this tour. Henley explained to the audience that this was the original way they used to rehearse the song. Later in the show the rock track ‘Heartache Tonight’ is also reinvented as a slowed down blues song.

The History of the Eagles is mostly a chronological musical journey with set one dedicated to the first four albums and set two to final years of ‘Hotel California’ and ‘The Long Run’. This was the Joe Walsh, Timothy B Schmit era for the band and Joe and Timothy collectively take up six songs in the set.

Part two starts with Joe’s ‘Hotel California’ ballad ‘Pretty Maids All In A Row’ but during this section we are also treated to his epic ‘Life’s Been Good’, from his solo record ‘But Seriously Folks’. The song was kind of an Eagles song anyway. Frey, Henley and Randy Meisner all sang on the studio version. Joe’s helmet-cam comes out once again for this one. The helmet-cam was introduced for the Farewell 1 tour of 2004 and kept in the show ever since.

Eagles photo by Ros OGormanJoe’s James Gang hit ‘Funk #49’ also remains in the sets and actually predates The Eagles. Joe initially recorded ‘Funk #49’ in 1970 with the James Gang. While its relatively unknown in Australia, the song was a big hit in the USA and in Joe’s DNA, it is an important part of the musical molecules.

Bernie returns for the final encore featuring their first hit ‘Take It Easy’, Joe’s solo ‘Ricky Mountain Way’ and Don’s outstanding showcase number ‘Desperado’.

The History of the Eagles is a totally different experience to the previous Australian tours of 2004 and 2010. This is one show the fans will appreciate for both its musical excellence and informative background.

I did miss Glenn’s jokes. “my first wife Plaintiff” and “the credit card” lines will just have to be resurrected for the next tour.

Eagles are touring Australia and New Zealand for Frontier Touring.

Eagles setlist for February 22, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

First set
Saturday Night (from Desperado, 1973)
Train Leaves Here This Morning (with Bernie Leadon) (from Eagles, 1972)
Peaceful Easy Feeling (from Eagles, 1972)
Witchy Woman (from Eagles, 1972)
Doolin Dalton (from Desperado, 1973)
Tequila Sunrise (from Desperado, 1973)
Doolin Dalton/Desperado reprise (from Desperado, 1973)
Already Gone (from On The Border, 1974)
Best Of My Love (from On The Border, 1974)
Lyin’ Eyes (from One Of These Nights, 1975)
One Of These Nights (from One Of These Nights, 1975)
Take It To The Limit (from One Of These Nights, 1975)

Second set
Pretty Maids All In A Row (from Hotel California, 1976)
I Can’t Tell You Why (from The Long Run, 1979)
New Kid In Town (from Hotel California, 1976)
Love Will Keep Us Alive (from Hell Freezes Over, 1994)
Heartache Tonight (from The Long Run, 1979)
Those Shoes (from The Long Run, 1979)
In The City (from The Long Run, 1979)
Life’s Been Good (from But Seriously Folks, 1978)
The Long Run (from The Long Run, 1979)
Funk #49 (from James Gang Rides Again, 1970)
Life In The Fastlane (from Hotel California, 1976)

Encore 1:
Hotel California (from Hotel California, 1976)

Encore 2:
Take It Easy (with Bernie Leadon) (from Eagles, 1972)
Rocky Mountain Way (with Bernie Leadon) (from The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get, 1973)
Desperado(with Bernie Leadon) (from Desperado, 1973)

The Eagles are touring Australia and New Zealand for Frontier Touring.

Eagles dates


February 18 and 19, Perth, Perth Arena
February 22, 24, 26, Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena
February 28, Macedon, Hanging Rock
March 2, Sydney, Qantas Arena
March 4, 6, Allphones Arena
March 8, Hunter Valley, Hope Estate
March 10, 11, Brisbane, Entertainment Centre

New Zealand
March 14, 15, Auckland, Mt Smart Arena

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