Eagles at the O2, Dublin, 06 June, 2014
Eager to find out if the Eagles are ‘only in it for the money’ GoldenPlec went down to the o2 for the second night of their European tour. Talk of a slightly scrappy opening show two nights before and many mediocre reviews since their 1994 reunion left us with modest expectations.
However, these expectations were comfortably exceeded. The show starts with Glenn Frey and Don Henley on acoustic guitars and then builds to add more of the band song by song until we finally have a full band of about 15 musicians, including newly returned original member Bernie Leadon. Leadon gets to do one lead vocal, his contribution is otherwise mainly guitar, adding some lovely country licks on many of tonight’s songs. Frey, Henley and Timothy B. Schmit are also all in top form, Joe Walsh perhaps less so. As his song says – Life’s Been Good To Me. Maybe too good!
The concert is billed as being ‘The History of The Eagles’ and includes a small amount of video and voiceover narration, plus Henley, Frey, Schmit and Walsh all introduce some of the songs and engage in some banter. And to be fair, it never seems apparent that the band do not like each other, nor that they have no spark. Ok, it’s not like watching the E-Street Band, but they do seem to be enjoying themselves and give a committed performance with flawless musicianship and strong vocals. Plus, they have the good grace to make light of their fractured history as well as giving some credit to some of the un-heralded country-rock bands which preceded them, such as Poco and the Flying Burrito Brothers.
It goes without saying that not many bands have as many hits to call on, and they come thick and fast starting with the night’s third track Peaceful Easy Feeling. The band mainly stick to faithful arrangements and the audience respond strongly. Less popular though is the band’s strict ‘no mobile phone’ policy, and GoldenPlec witnesses some ‘tensions’ as the security personnel stop people from texting (yes, texting!) or checking their social media. A bridge too far? Possibly, but it definitely helps the concert atmosphere that people are banned from constant filming with mobile phones, and it will be interesting to see if more artists follow suit.
With three hours of music and impressive production values, the Eagles endeavour to give value for the hefty ticket prices. The first half of the show is competent, but audience and band seem to reach a different gear after the intermission as the strong setlist continues. Highlights include an almost funky One of these Nights, a strong Frey vocal on New Kid in Town and Schmidt’s ballad I Can’t Tell You Why. If nothing else, these songs are country-rock and AOR standards. The concert then builds towards a show-stopping concluding Life in the Fast Lane.
The encore set is also well judged. The Eagles are a band who have one of ‘those’ songs, ie a song they wouldn’t get away without playing, and sure enough, Hotel California is a nice moment, coming immediately after the encore break. Take it Easy and Desperado also fit the bill, and the curtain finally comes down on a surprisingly strong, atmospheric and enjoyable concert.
The Eagles Photo Gallery
Photos: Kieran Frost