The Eagles Soar High in Columbus, OH

 

When the tragic news came that the world lost Glenn Frey, I assumed that it had also lost The Eagles. When the news came that the band would carry on despite the loss of Frey, I was a bit taken aback…okay, I was a lot taken aback. I mean, after all, Glen Frey was arguably the heart and soul of that band. How could the Eagles take the stage without him? It seemed to me that without their creator, songs like “Take it Easy,” “Tequila Sunrise” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling” had lost their soul. To have anyone else sing these songs would be, well wrong.

But as time passed and the news came that Frey’s own son, Deacon Frey would be joining the band for their upcoming tour, my skepticism turned into curiosity. Could this work? Then throw in the addition of the legendary Vince Gill to the mix….now you have my interest. But still, this is not the same thing as The Eagles…is it?

With questions of legitimacy still in my head, I attended the bands’ April 8th tour stop in Columbus, OH. Apparently, I was not the only per curious about the current status. So were about 20,000 other people. Nationwide Arena was packed to the rafters with Eagles fans, old and new. There were old guys like myself sporting the Eagles shirt they likely bought during a show in ’79. There were also fresh-faced teenagers who may not even realize that the current Frey in the band was not the original one who started the band in 1971. In any case, our questions would soon be answered.

Before the lights went down to begin the show, an announcement was made asking all in attendance to turn off their cell phones. The pre-recorded message went on to say that The Eagles request that people refrain from texting and taking videos/photos out of respect to the band and fellow concert-goers. The request seemed to be honored by the crowd except for the few entitled people who felt the rule did not apply to them. But for the most part, the cells phones were put away….for a while. But by the time the band broke into “Hotel California” during their first encore, Nationwide Arena was the scene of what had to be thousands of Facebook and Youtube videos.

I know, I know….I haven’t answered the big question. Was the collective group on the stage worthy of carrying on the banner of the legendary name? As the house lights came down and the stage lights came up, the current members started in on the acapella harmonies of “Seven Bridges Road.” I have to admit, they were off to a pretty strong start. After the first tune was in the books, guitarist Joe Walsh introduced the crowd to Deacon Frey as the 24-year-old took the spotlight to deliver lead vocals to one of his father’s biggest songs, “Take it Easy.” With his youth and shoulder length brown hair, you couldn’t help but think of Glenn Frey from the 70’s. But the youngster was not trying to copy his dad. He had his own sound, but it honored his dad quite nicely. Two songs in and all of my questions were answered. Yes, this was going to work. During the course of the night, Deacon Frey proved to be a humble talent who was more than worthy to be carrying on the legacy that his father had created. A special moment came when the younger Frey expressed gratitude to his bandmates for making his worst day one of his best. A picture of Glenn Frey was displayed on the video screen as Deacon delivered his version of “Peaceful Easy Feeling.” Oh what a feeling it was witnessing that moment.

 

 

There is another new kid in town that I have to mention. That would be Vince Gill, who was also added to the ranks to help fill the huge hole that Frey’s passing created. While hardly a rookie in the business, the legendary country artist would have to earn his stripes in the rock n’ roll world. Gill stayed off to the right hand of the stage, along with bassist, Timothy B. Schmidt who was seated the entire night due to a foot injury that had him in a walking boot. Vince started the evening off very low key as he strummed his acoustic guitar and sang harmonies. By the time he took over lead vocal duties on the rarely performed “Ol’ 55” there was no doubt that Vince Gill was a natural fit to complete the distinctive Eagles sound. In case there were still any questions at that point, he drove the point home with his on-point rendition of “Lyin’ Eyes.” Gill also showed that he can jam with the best of them as he traded his acoustic and wailed on an electric during the bands rocking number like “Life in the Fast Lane.”

With the two unknowns in the Eagles equation, Frey and Gill solidifying their right to be a part of the band, there were really no big surprises from the rest of the band. Don Henley divided up his time behind a drum kit and up front. While he did offer some banter to his bandmates and to the crowd, he was all about the business of the evening. Joe Walsh, on the other hand, proved that he is still the rock star that he was in the 70’s. Towards the end of the evening Walsh was the master of ceremonies as he led the band into his classic tunes, “Walk Away,” “Life’s Been Good,” and “Funk #49.”  When a band has been around as long as The Eagles, they don’t need to answer to anybody. But in an age where so many bands overstay their welcome for a quick money grab, it’s natural for fans to have questions. I certainly did. While it would be impossible to ever fully compensate for the loss of a talent like Glenn Frey, The Eagles of 2018 are carrying on not only the name of the band but also their classic sound with grace and honor.

Americana band JD & The Straight Shot kicked off the evening in support of their new record, “Good Luck and Good Night.” The band was a group of wonderful players who delivered some beautiful instrumentations and harmonies while frontman Jim Dolan delivered his own style of storytelling over the beautiful background. The band has opened for the likes of The Doobie Brothers, Chicago, and Jewel. You can find more about the band at www.jdandthestraightshot.com.

 

 

The Eagles – April 8, 2017 – Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH 

– Seven Bridges Road

– Take It Easy

– One of These Nights

– Take it to the Limit

– Tequila Sunrise

– Witchy Woman

– In the City

– I Can’t Tell You Why

– How Long

– Ol’ 55

– Peaceful Easy Feeling

– Best of My Love

– Lyin’ Eyes

– Love Will Keep Us Alive

– New Kid in Town

– Next Big Thing

– Those Shoes

– Already Gone

– Victim of Love

– Walk Away

– Heartache Tonight

– Life’s Been Good

– Funk #49

– Life in the Fast Lane

Encore:

– Hotel California

Encore 2:

– Rocky Mountain Way

– Desperado

 

 

www.eagles.com

www.facebook.com/EaglesBand

 

 

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