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Live Review: The Eagles at United Center

| March 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

Eagles/ JD & The Straight Shot
United Center, Chicago
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Rather than making some grand entrance or busting out the big lights (those would come a bit later), core Eagles members Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit, alongside Deacon Frey and Vince Gill, quietly got into position at the United Center and simply sang “Seven Bridges Road” against a starry backdrop with a forest scene. Though their faces and instruments could barely be seen, it sounded exactly like everyone remembered, even if Glenn Frey, one of the primary men behind so much music, is no longer able to join them in the flesh.

As the spot-on harmonies of the Steve Young classic came to their ear-pleasing conclusion, Walsh remarked “we’re still the Eagles” with Frey surely joining them in spirit. And even if his Chicago Blackhawks jersey-wearing son looked more akin to a kid hanging out at Lollapalooza, he would’ve definitely made pops proud from the moment he opened his mouth to try “Take It Easy.”

Indeed, a lot has changed since the Eagles debuted in Chicago more than 45 years ago at the Arie Crown Theater supporting Yes, which Henley joked couldn’t have been a more mismatched line-up. Nonetheless, these country-flavored pop/rockers caught the sold out audience up to speed on their many winding roads from then until now, which netted so many hits, it was easy to lose count.

There was Henley’s lead on the eternal “One Of These Nights,” Walsh blazing through “In The City,” a temporarily injured and seated Schmit crooning the soulful “I Can’t Tell You Why,” Frey perfectly handling “Peaceful Easy Feeling” (with his dad’s photo above) and fellow newcomer Gill giving a buttery take on “Lyin’ Eyes.” The talk box got a workout with “Those Shoes,” “Victim Of Love” was added back in after more than 15 years of hibernation and the brass came out to pump extra steps into “Walk Away” (from Walsh’s earlier gig with the James Gang).

Though the Eagles are technically a cast of five, the horns were just part of the many accompanying seasonings that also included a string section and impeccable backing band (with guitar cameos from Henley’s son Will). The generally low-key crowd really came out of its shell by Walsh’s bad behavior anthem “Life’s Been Good” (dedicated to famed Disco Demolition Night disc jockey Steve Dahl with grief over losing the Loop), additional James Gang favorite “Funk #49” and the ultimate Eagles’ traveling tune “Life In The Fast Lane.”

Only a track as massive as “Hotel California” could ever follow for the first encore (during which thousands violated the strict no phones policy), and by the second, Walsh gave everyone another psychedelic trip down memory lane with “Rocky Mountain Way.” However, it was the Henley-led “Desperado” that offered a gorgeous coda to a more than two-and-a-half-hour evening with bittersweet lines such as “you better let somebody love you, before it’s too late” meaning more than they ever have before.

Even before the ticketed time, early comers were given a bonus set from roots rock/Americana outfit JD & The Straight Shot, who unveiled flavorful, foot-stomping tunes from its latest long player Good Luck And Good Night and beyond. It’s always hard to open for any major attraction, but the male/female mix of accomplished instrumentalists managed to win over as many of the masses who were able to catch at least a slice of their ascent.

-Review and photos by Andy Argyrakis

 

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Category: IE Photo Gallery, Live Reviews

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