For any song lover, opening night for the Eagles reunion concert tour was elation — a feeding frenzy. The three-hour set was filled with many great songs , both from their time together and their solo efforts, played and sung meticulously overall, just as one would expect from the longtime session players that make up the band.
Surprisingly, after some 15 years of solo work, the band meshed into a unit with no hint of the alleged animosity among members. They interacted as if they had never been apart.
Disturbingly, however, despite their impeccable musicianship, they gave no sense that they wanted to be there, that they loved playing again. Their aloofness made the evening seem like an obligatory job to which they grudgingly went.
Although it would be wishful thinking to expect the band to play all its hits , some choices were curious. They left out many favorites, such as “Peaceful Easy Feeling and “Take it Easy,” instead playing songs such as “Pretty Maids All in a Row.”
Amid old classic Eagles hits such as “I Can’t Tell You Why” and “New Kid in Town,” and around 10 collective solo hits such as Henley’s “Heart of the Matter, ” Frey’s “Smuggler’s Blues” and Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good,” the band scattered new songs, leading to expectations of an Eagles album in the near future.
The new material was a weak attempt to recreate the Eagles. Although all have exhibited tremendous writing talent, as in many exhausted relationships, the magic was gone from the dynamics between them.
“The Girl From Yesterday,” a country-flavored tune with steel guitar, was no doubt inspired by the success of the country star-performed “Common Thread” Eagles compilation, and the more upbeat “Get Over It” was an intelligently written, Henley-sung tune with no real musical charm.
The band was far too serious and drab with its presence. They lightened up once, adding comedy to Joe Walsh’s solo bit on “Ordinary Average Guy,” featuring a home slide show. Yet they never really connected with the audience.
The show opened with rumblings of thunder, setting up an ominous, mysterious ambience for “Hotel California.”
Joe Walsh was playing as well and expressively as ever, particularly his blues version of the ever-appropriate “Amazing Grace,” but his singing was worn and ragged.
The band played “Tequila Sunrise” after intermission, “Already Gone” for the first encore and ended the show with a slow, dramatic version of “Desperado” in the second encore.
The sound quality through most of the show was excellent, with a low volume emphasizing the band’s famed harmonies.