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Live Review: The Eagles close out their Hollywood Bowl run


On Tuesday night at the Hollywood Bowl, Glenn Frey welcomed Eagles fans to the final show of the band’s three-night stand there with a bit of sly self-deprecation. “We are the ancient ones,” he said. “And this is the Eagles’ assisted-living tour.”

As lines go, it’s a good one, and it drew sympathetic laughs from an audience seemingly packed with well-preserved old-timers from the group’s days on the early-’70s L.A. club scene.

Yet if the joke acknowledged the improbability of the Eagles’ four-decade flight, it didn’t necessarily reflect the reality of the band’s current state: Backed (or perhaps assisted) at the Bowl by a handful of musicians on a variety of instruments, Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit played a three-hour set that emphasized the slickly seductive allure of the Eagles’ music, which presents youth less as a concrete experience than as a state of mind attainable through sex, drugs or any combination thereof.

The Eagles weren’t dispensing hard-won wisdom; they were demonstrating their continued devotion to everything that wisdom typically precludes.

And they were moving far more quickly than senior citizens usually do, zipping through hits such as  “Witchy Woman,” “One of These Nights” and “Lyin’ Eyes” with the effortless facility that’s always defined their sound.

“We did everything fast in 1975,” Frey said before the last of those tunes, explaining that he and Henley had written it over two days about the scene at West Hollywood’s Dan Tana’s. Then he dedicated it to his first wife, whose name he helpfully provided: “Plaintiff.”

Don_henley_3_ More recent material from “Long Road Out of Eden,” the Eagles’ 2007 reunion disc, blended seamlessly with the older songs, though the exasperated sociopolitical content of some seemed crudely rendered in comparison to the more artful “Hotel California,” in which the analysis of pleasure is indistinguishable from pleasure itself.

Near the middle of the show, following “Take It to the Limit,” the band performed "Eden's" title track, and the mood turned serious as images of soldiers and the Middle East flashed across an enormous video screen, accompanying Henley’s lyric about “weaving down the American highway, through the litter and the wreckage and the cultural junk.”

To put it in the language of any number of Eagles characters, it was kind of a bummer.

But then the song was over, Walsh launched into “Walk Away,” and once again you had to admire these guys’ speed. Who else can get from Baghdad to Margaritaville in seconds flat.

-- Mikael Wood

Top photo: Glenn Frey and Scott Crago, on drums. Middle photo: Don Henley. Credits: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (14)

Margaritaville ?

Wasn't that that other guy from the 70's?

jimmy buffet????

"The Eagles weren’t dispensing hard-won wisdom; they were demonstrating their continued devotion to everything that wisdom typically precludes."

Uhhh... what? Mikael, it's a rock concert review, not a master's thesis. Relax and enjoy.

The "assisted-living tour" and "plaintiff" jokes are standard fare in Eagles concerts in recent years. Has not this reviewer ever been to an Eagles concert before? Nothing new here.

They didn't perform "High Voltage"?

I went to the Friday night opener at the Bowl. The Eagles performed majestically as they usually do in concert. Joe Walsh has gone 'Hollywood' with his satin jacket and styled, long blond hair. Age is starting to catch up with these guys, but that applies to us all. The performance was not quite the polished refinement and showmanship of their late DVD done in Melbourne. But, it was still the Eagles and who else can sound as good as they did 3 decades ago while creeping into their 60's... no band, that I know of.

I don't like them since they dumped Don Felder. And now they've gotten rid of Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook too?!?! No thank you!!!

Awesome concert showcasing beautiful harmonies and musicianship, talents lacking in most current "artists."

Saw them at Staples Center 1999/2000 New Year concert also; yes, we have all aged but they still harmonize beautifully and the guitar playing was amazing ... great concert only marred by those behind who physically poked and prodded me (at times quite hard) to sit down! At a rock concert???

What a vapid, pointless review. Yet another example of the decline of the L.A. Times, which isn't aging nearly as well as the Eagles.

3 hours they outlasted most of the stash people brought that you could stop smelling after about 10 pm, great music even with Frye straining. Still remarkable ensemble singing though. What a way to go out of LA, strumming the guitar when its about 55 damp and cold - Walsh & Henley carry the night - and they still bring relevant music after 30 years - so long classic rock and roll as Chicago and now the Eagles are at the end of the road - enjoy this tour while you can. 50 years old and I have to have a wrist strap for beer - what is the world coming to.

I think he means "Margaritaville" as a metaphor for the happy place that this type of 70's rock takes us too. I am guessing he knows that buffett and the eagles are not the same band.

Can't we let The Eagles evolve to have real concerns about the world we all live in? These guys are mature men and describing one of their new songs as a "Bummer" misses the complexity of their commitment to music as a medium for more then just a "trip down memory lane".

I thought the Tuesday night show was outstanding despite the chilly weather. Despite being one of those 50+ boomers it was my first Eagles concert and I was not disappointed. Joe Walsh stole the show with his energy and enthusiasm. The critic just doesn't get what some of the new material is all about but the Eagles performed flawlessly. TB Schmidt was hitting all the high notes perfectly, but Frey missed a few of the higher notes with his strained voice in an otherwise nearly perfect, entertaining and memorable three+ hours of great material. The session guys are great in support of the band, outstanding horn session and Stuart the lead player is a master. Keep the assisted living team going.


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