Five things watching The Eagles made us think

The band flew into London this week as part of the UK leg of their History of the Eagles tour.

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The History Of The Eagles tour is part history lesson, part live show.

Over the course of nearly three hours, the audience are taken through the band’s catalogue in largely chronological order, the live songs interspersed with video clips from band members explaining the story. Sometimes it feels like a lecture, and this is what we learnt.

Momentum is key in a live performance, except when it isn’t

Live shows are meant to start with a bang, with the set carefully chosen and paced to ensure the excitement rises as the show progresses. There’s nothing like that here: it all starts without fanfare, Don Henley and Glenn Frey perched on stools beneath eight naked bulbs. There are long gaps between songs, and the I’ve seen orchestras that move about the stage more. But it doesn’t seem to matter a jot: when your catalogue is this familiar, who needs pyrotechnics?

The Eagles aren’t The Eagles until they harmonise

Henley’s and Frey’s voices aren’t quite what they were (they’re by no means ragged, but neither is this 1974), but when the band sing together, something magical happens. You’re not just hearing the songs, you’re hearing what makes them unique. And when there are six musicians strung out across the stage, all locked together in close harmony, it’s little short of miraculous.

Don’t fall out with your bandmates

This might be the History Of The Eagles, but it’s a little selective. While there’s a nice dedication from the stage to Randy Meisner, “wherever he is”, there’s no mention of Don Felder, who wrote the music for Hotel California and came up with that solo.

Timothy B. Schmit is underrated

Despite becoming an Eagle 36 years ago, bassman Schmit is still perceived as the new guy, having joined the fray shortly after the band recorded their biggest hits. But it’s his high, sweet voice that’s stood the test of time best. With chiselled cheekbones, long hair and carrying not an ounce of fat, he’s the one member who still looks like a rock star rather than a kindly uncle.

No other band has an encore this strong

Desperado. Take It Easy. Hotel California. Is there any other band that can play two and a half hours of songs that everyone knows, and then call on a trio of songs this BIG to finish their set?

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.