The Eagles concert review

The Eagles

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When the Eagles played New York City’s Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Glenn Frey introduced them as “the band that time forgot.” Along with this label came the obvious highs and lows of all that it implies.

The biggest perk of being stuck in a musical time capsule is that the band’s talent is still intact. They played their instruments ably and, most amazingly, their voices are in fine condition – save poor Mr. Timothy B. Schmit, whose upper register is an easy target for aging. He could hardly hit the “Why”s in “I Can’t Tell You Why,” his standard time to shine, singing in more of a strained whisper for the top notes. Another incredible side effect of their treading water is that they genuinely don’t seem tired of having played the same 20 hits over and over and over. Rockers like “One of these Nights” and “Life in the Fast Lane” sounded almost as energized as they do in the originals.

But, as Marty McFly would point out, being stuck in time has its disadvantages.

The Eagles’ biggest setback in being set back is how the new material from Long Road Out of Eden sounds even more recycled and absurd when juxtaposed with the band’s big earners. The band showed incredible audacity in pulling out “Hotel California” after playing five new tunes (perhaps as a reward for making it through them?). The chorus of “Busy Being Fabulous” (“And you were just too busy being fabulous / too busy to think about us / I don’t know what you were dreaming of / somehow you forgot about love”) sounds inane enough on its own. It didn’t need the additional embarrassment of being followed by more impressive poetry while still within short-term memory’s reach.

If there was one upside to the new material, however, it’s that it helped set this tour apart from their last – the flirtatiously titled “Farewell 1 Tour.” The other problem with being stuck in time is repetition. New songs aside, this show very carefully mimicked those from that tour, right down to Glenn Frey’s anecdotes and jokes (“My wife calls this the credit card song,” before “Take It to the Limit” and a dedication to his first wife followed by a variation on a divorce joke before “Lyin’ Eyes”). But while “Farewell 1 Tour” was more of a blatant money-making endeavor without a new release to support it, at the very least the audience knew it was in for a long stream of show-stoppers and potential drunken sing-a-longs. With the Long Road Out of Eden tour, they saved the best for last.

Divided in two parts by a 15-minute break, the three-hour show concentrated on new songs for the first half of each set, followed by what everyone was really there for. While the new material revealed their weaknesses, they made up for it somewhat by playing to their strengths with the hits. They pulled out the whoppers from the rock end of the spectrum, giving the abundant personality and still-dexterous fingers of Joe Walsh ample attention, along with Don “Activist” Henley, of course, both of whom played selections from their solo careers (and a few James Gang hits from Walsh). They passed on the perhaps too cliché “New York Minute,” instead going with the second most obvious choice, “In the City,” complete with a video montage of images from around the Big Apple.

Before launching into “The Long Run,” Henley quipped, “After 37 years of doing this, this has sort of become my theme song.” It was a statement both sweet and cheesy in its ego and honesty, much like the band and the music they make.


Setlist:

1. How Long
2. Busy Being Fabulous
3. I Don’t Want To Hear Anymore
4. Guilty of the Crime
5. Hotel California
6. Peaceful, Easy Feeling
7. I Can’t Tell You Why
8. Witchy Woman
9. Lyin’ Eyes
10. Boys of Summer
11. In The City
12. The Long Run

Break

13. No More Walks in the Wood
14. Waiting in the Weeds
15. No More Cloudy Days
16. Love Will Keep Us Alive
17. Take It To The Limit
18. Long Road Out of Eden
19. Somebody
20. Walk Away
21. One of These Nights
22. Life’s Been Good
23. Dirty Laundry
24. Funk 49
25. Heartache Tonight
26. Life in the Fast Lane

Encore #1

27. Rocky Mountain Way
28. All She Wants To Do is Dance

Encore #2

29. Take It Easy
30. Desperado

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