Eagles review – unflashy ‘guys with guitars’ deliver feelgood comforts
“There’ll be no fireworks, no wind machines, and no butt-whacking choreography – just a bunch of guys with guitars,” Don Henley tells Liverpool by way of introducing Eagles’ 50th anniversary tour, addressing an audience who for the most part appear to have been around to witness all five of those decades, accompanied by a few of their offspring. That said, the setlist dwells almost entirely on the 1970s, the era of Hotel California and Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975), still among the biggest selling albums ever.
Tales of Eagles excess in those days are legendary, but today they’re men in their 70s, presenting their young selves’ back catalogue with flawless five-part harmonies and machine-tooled precision. Not all the 1970s members made their 1994 reunion; since then, they lost co-founder Glenn Frey in 2016. But US country star Vince Gill sings his songs with care and empathy, bringing the perfect amount of aching yearning to Take It to the Limit, and smiling in delight as he realises Anfield is singing along to Lyin’ Eyes. There’s a surprise reappearance of Frey’s son, Deacon, who quit touring with the Eagles last year but returns for the likes of Take It Easy: quintessential, Californian soft-rock from another time, which sounds strangely comforting now.
“We just want you to forget about the news cycle, have a few beers and enjoy yourselves,” urges Henley, who peels off his sublime 80s solo smash, The Boys of Summer. Guitarist Joe Walsh – who looks as if he’s enjoyed a party in his time – admits it was “a lot more fun being 20 in the 70s than 70 in the 20s”, by way of introducing Life’s Been Good, his 1978 solo hit, a knowingly affectionate send-up of rock-star excess (“My Maserati does one-eighty-five / I lost my licence, now I don’t drive”).
As darkness falls, Heartache Tonight gets the crowd on their feet and the band crank up the guitars for Life in the Fast Lane. The opening chords of Hotel California trigger instant euphoria, and the stadium-sized audience sings along with every word.
• At Murrayfield stadium, Edinburgh on 22 June and BST Hyde Park, London on 26 June.