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.”