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SSE Hydro, Glasgow
2nd June 2014

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

the eagles

Touring in support of the excellent 'History Of The Eagles' documentary DVD, The Eagles were playing arena shows instead of the usual stadiums so this gig at the 12,000 capacity Hydro in Glasgow counted as an intimate show for them.

Despite sky high ticket prices both nights here sold out very quickly but a couple of weeks before the show I got the chance of a couple of face value tickets in the second row so gritting my teeth I paid my money for a one off chance at getting up close and personal with one of he biggest bands of the last 40 years.

The first half of the show started out as a low key affair with Don Henley and Glenn Frey sitting on stools and doing an acoustic version of early song 'Saturday Night', before being joined by original member Bernie Leadon for 'Train Leaves Here This Morning'.

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The theme of the first half was the history of the band so there were lots of stories about how the songs were written and once Timothy B Schmidt joined the group on stage to make four the songs became more familiar such as 'Peaceful Easy Feeling' and a Beach Boys style rearrangement of 'Witchy Woman'. It's a testament to the esteem that these guys are held in that they got away with such low key music in such a big hall.

It wasn't too long before Joe Walsh was adding his fiery, fluid guitar runs to the mix and then with the addition of the extra touring musicians energy levels went up a notch with a nice bluesy take on 'Doolin'-Dalton' and 'Already Gone'.

Of course most of the crowd were here to hear the greatest hits stuff and they rolled them out one after the other to end the first half of the show. 'Best Of My Love', 'Lyin' Eyes', One Of these Nights' and 'Take It To The Limit', a real tribute to their songwriting prowess in their heyday.

Sitting at the front it was amazing to hear the whole crowd behind me singing so much of these classic songs, verses and choruses. The musicianship on stage was superb and Don Henley in particular still has a really fine voice but the standout thing was the brilliant vocal harmonies, astonishing to hear and really beautiful.

'Take It To The Limit' was dedicated to its original singer Randy Meisner who couldn't make the tour due to illness. I did notice that no mention was made of the other long term Eagle not present, Don Felder, no doubt due to the lawsuits that have gone back and forth between he and Messrs Henly and Fry since he was fired from the band.

After a short break the stage was rearranged into full arena rock mode with back projection screens and big lightshow and the second half started with 'Pretty Maids All In A Row'. At this point they seemed to abandon the history theme and put together a strangely mixed set list of stuff.

In a part of the show that lasted around an hour and forty minutes and which went up and down in its pacing we got a nice falsetto vocal from Timothy B Schmidt on 'Love Will Keep Us Alive' and amazingly (to me at least) five songs from their last album before their 1980 break up, 'The Long Run'.

Hardly their most famous work, they included the title track, a reworked 'Heartache Tonight' which had the audience on its feet, more falsetto balladry in 'I Can't Tell You Why' and a couple of lesser known tunes in 'Those Shoes' and 'In The City'. The latter was a Joe Walsh led number and his infectious sense of fun and stellar guitar playing made him the star of the night for many.

If anyone is wondering what the link is between The Eagles and then this tune had enough grooving rock to show why this band can be included in our very broad church of rock and Metal music.

Walsh also got to let the crazy side of his personality out on a cracking version of his solo hit 'Life's Been Good' but I thought it was maybe taking the focus on this particular Eagle a little too far when 'Funk #49' got an airing, a song from Walsh's pre-Eagle James Gang days. Suddenly it was time for a rocked up 'Life In The Fast lane' and that was it, main set over.

Despite what I thought was a disjointed set an encore was inevitable as was the roar that greeted the first few notes of 'Hotel California'. Superbly played and sung of course but what made it special was that it was one of those joint experience moments when the crowd sang the whole song with the band and sent a shiver up my spine.

Another encore was demanded and bringing Bernie Leadon out again it was more crowd singalong time in 'Take It Easy' but this was followed up with another Walsh solo number in 'Rocky Mountain Way'. It's not my favourite Walsh song and I would have liked to hear something else but of course Mr Walsh enjoyed himself immensely.

The night ended with the classic ballad 'Desperado' with a fantastic lead vocal from Don Henley and then the band took their bows before an adoring audience.

Performance wise this was a fantastic show, the level of musicianship was incredible with sometimes up to five guitarists on stage but the sound perfectly layered and the vocal harmonies were just astonishing.

I think set list wise the band didn't quite put it all together in a way that would have taken the roof off the Hydro though which is a shame and took a slight edge off what was a great but at these prices once in a lifetime experience. However they did play for over two hours and forty minutes.

Line up:
Glenn Frey - vocals, guitar, keyboards
Don Henley - vocals, drums, guitar, percussion
Joe Walsh - vocals, guitar, keyboards
Timothy B. Schmit - bass guitar, vocals
Bernie Leadon - guitar, vocals

Additional musicians:
Scott Crago - drums, percussion
Richard Davis - keyboards, vocals
Will Hollis - Keyboards, vocals
Steuart Smith - guitar, vocals
Michael Thompson - keyboards, vocals


Fan videos:
There was a strictly enforced photography ban in place but some fans on the first night in Glasgow (May 31) managed to get some videos at least!

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