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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 6 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 36
Eagles still flying high - Legendary '70s quartet brings it all back in Seattle show
Arts & Entertainment
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Eagles still flying high - Legendary '70s quartet brings it all back in Seattle show

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

EAGLES
KEY ARENA
September 4


They're greyer and maybe a little bigger around the waist, but musically the Eagles are sounding as great as ever. The Southern California four-piece - Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit - gave a commanding performance to a sold-out audience at Key Arena that featured all of their top hits.

The three-hour concert started with Henley and Frey appearing from behind a large black curtain at opposite ends of the stage, then making their way to wooden stools positioned at front and center. They dueted on 'Saturday Night,' the only song ever written by all four original Eagles (Henley, Frey, Randy Meisner, and Bernie Leadon), which appeared on the band's 1973 album, Desperado. Henley recalled going on tour with Linda Ronstadt in the early '70s, just he and Frey, and it was Ronstadt who recommended they add Leadon to the lineup, who then split from the act in 1975. Leadon, however, reunited with the Eagles for some of Wednesday's show.

Schmit made his entrance right before 'Peaceful Easy Feeling' and Walsh was brought out on the next number, 'Witchy Woman,' which saw him fingering a beautifully polished Firebird guitar. Coinciding with the recent documentary History of the Eagles, the veteran rock quartet played many of the songs in chronological order during the first half.

The curtain was raised before 'Doolin-Dalton,' followed by 'Tequila Sunrise' as a wall-sized image of city lights was displayed on a series of rectangular LED panels at the rear of the stage. More material from their early catalog was ushered out, including 'Already Gone' and 'The Best of My Love,' which had each of the Eagles strumming acoustic guitars and touring musician Steuart Smith on an electric one.

Frey introduced 'Lyin' Eyes' as a song that was written in just two days. That song and 'Take It to the Limit,' dedicated to a recovering Meisner, closed the first portion of the concert.

WALSH STANDS OUT
Crowd favorites dominated the second half, as did Walsh's expert guitar chops that pretty much highlighted every other song, including one of his own, a slamming version of 'Life's Been Good.' Smith, though, provided a bone-chilling solo at the tail end of 'I Can't Tell You Why,' sung by Schmit, who also did lead vocals on 'Love Will Keep Us Alive,' featured on the Eagles' live album Hell Freezes Over.

It became a different concert altogether when the multi-Grammy winners landed on their more rock-style material (vs. country rock), such as 'Heartache Tonight' and 'Life in the Fast Lane' that suddenly got the entire floor off their seats and many in the bleachers on their feet dancing and singing along. It was interesting to see grown men behaving like high school boys around the venue, whooping and hollering and even patting each other on the ass (yes, that happened). But this was the music they grew up listening to, and it offered them a memorable glimpse into the past, so why not let it all hang out?

There were two encores at Key Arena. The first was a brilliant rendition of 'Hotel California,' the band's most celebrated hit, that showcased Smith on a double-headed guitar and Walsh finishing out the number with some dazzling work on his own instrument. Normally it's Henley who steals the show from the other three, but this time around it was Walsh who earned MVP honors with his masterful guitar playing - he was simply on fire. The second and final encore unleashed a trio of classics, beginning with 'Take It Easy' and a Walsh track, 'Rocky Mountain Way,' (true to the original recording, Walsh used a talk box during the bridge), and then it all concluded with Henley singing a poignant version of 'Desperado.'

Frey noted that he and Henley, the two eldest members of the group, had been collaborating on music for 41 years. And while their physical appearances have definitely changed, fortunately for us their music has never, ever, gotten old.

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