It may seem hard to believe, but June 2022 marks 50 years since the Eagles released their debut album. Since then, they’ve racked up six number one albums – including the number one and number three best-selling albums of all time – as well as five number one singles and six Grammys. With a slew of hit songs under their belts, last night they hit BST Hyde Park in London for the final UK date of their anniversary tour.
Arriving on stage around 8pm to raucous cheers and applause from a crowd who’d already witnessed an incredible day of music, the band kicked off with their take on Steve Young’s ‘Seven Bridges Road’. Right from the start they showcased their incredible harmonies with an amazing acapella intro before launching into the song’s lively guitar melody. The crowd were clapping and cheering along straight away and it set the template for an evening of fantastic music.
For the next two hours, the band took us on – in Don Henley’s words – ‘a hell of a ride’ through their back catalogue. From the dramatic, sultry ‘Witchy Woman’ to ‘Lyin’ Eyes’, which provided one of the earliest singalong moments of the set, as well as classics like the hard-rocking ‘Victim Of Love’ and ‘Tequila Sunrise’, with its jangly melody and bittersweet lyrics, the group crafted a set that showed their skills as musicians and performers off brilliantly. The whole band seemed really engaged and energised too, encouraging the crowd to clap and sing along throughout the show, and from the frequent shots of audience members generally having the time of their lives you could tell the feeling was mutual.
Many of the audience, including myself, were very excited to see Vince Gill, who joined the band back in 2017 following the death of founding member Glenn Frey. He did an absolutely beautiful version of ‘New Kid In Town’ early on, which really brought out the emotion in the song, as well as a gorgeous delivery of ‘Take It To The Limit’ that highlighted the richness in his voice. The reception he got from the crowd was absolutely wonderful and it hope it encourages him to come back to the UK at some point in future (just me who’d love to see him in the legends slot at C2C next year?).
That said, for me it was guitarist Joe Walsh who absolutely stole the show. From his solo track ‘In The City’, which featured some wicked slide guitar, to his jokes about ‘being 20 in the 70s [being] better than being 70s in the 20s’ before kicking into a funky version of ‘Life’s Been Good’ where he whipped the crowd up into a call-and-response amid some psychedelic video effects, he kept the crowd rapt with his mix of wicked guitar solos – including riff-offs with Vince and guitarist Stuart Smith on ‘Funk #49’ – and vocal yelps and barks through a special tool on his microphone. He looked like he was having a whale of a time up there and it was impossible not to enjoy every moment the camera focused on him and his antics.
Not to be forgotten, Don Henley provided one of the best moments of the night with ‘Boys Of Summer’, which he dedicated to the late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, whilst Timothy B. Schmidt delivered fantastic bluesy riffs and solid harmonies throughout along with a heartstring-tugging performance of ‘I Can’t Tell You Why’. The group were also joined on stage by Glenn’s son Deacon Frey midway through, who put a soulful spin on ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’ and ‘Take It Easy’.
After a raucous, rollicking rendition of ‘Heartache Tonight’ and ‘Life In The Fast Lane’, the band remained on stage rather than walking off before their encore, which kicked off with ‘Hotel California’. The audience erupted into cheers as soon as the first notes kicked in, and sang along to every single word even louder than they had for the previous two hours. They followed that with ‘Rocky Mountain Way’ and ‘Desperado’, which saw the stage lit up with a backdrop that enhanced the song’s delicate melody as the audience sang and swayed along, before finishing on ‘Already Gone’. The upbeat, cheeky, clever breakup song provided a real singalong moment, and the special appearances from John McEnroe (yes really) playing guitar and Patty Smyth on tambourine and backing vocals – as well as the return of Deacon Frey to the stage – made it even better. It finished the show on a huge high and I for one didn’t want to go home after that!
At the start of the Eagles’ performance, Don Henley declared that ‘our mission is to give you a two hour vacation from all the horrible headlines’ and that’s just what they did. Wowing long-time and casual fans alike, they delivered a set that was jam-packed with classics and provided some incredible moments of musicianship and entertainment. It was an utterly joyous end to a fantastic day and they proved that they’ve absolutely still got that ‘it factor’ that makes them such an incredible band to watch live. If they ever come back to the UK – and I sincerely hope they do – then make sure you see them, because I promise you won’t regret it.
Set list: 1. Seven Bridges Road (Steve Young cover) 2. One Of These Nights 3. New Kid In Town 4. Witchy Woman 5. Take It To The Limit 6. Lyin’ Eyes 7. In The City 8. I Can’t Tell You Why 9. Victim Of Love 10. Tequila Sunrise 11. Best Of My Love 12. Peaceful Easy Feeling (with Deacon Frey) 13. Take It Easy (with Deacon Frey) 14. Life’s Been Good 15. Those Shoes 16. Boys Of Summer 17. Funk #49 18. Heartache Tonight 19. Life In The Fast Lane 20. Hotel California 21. Rocky Mountain Way 22. Desperado 23. Already Gone (with Deacon Frey, John McEnroe and Patty Smyth) Performance date: 26th June 2022