Among the list of best-selling albums of all time, the Eagles soar high with ‘Hotel California’ and ‘Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)’ selling more than a combined 72 million units across the world. Since their debut in 1971, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Don Felder, Randy Meisner, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit have collectively come to represent a timeless swell of rock and roll music, heavily inspired by California’s western spirit.
Tuesday night, that spirit came alive inside the Golden 1 Center as a packed arena welcomed the current edition of the band, which features Don Henley, Joe Walsh & Timothy B. Schmit, with Vince Gill and Deacon Frey. While fans will always remember the original Glenn Frey, his son Deacon’s presence made for a special presentation most legendary groups are not able to afford when such a significant member is lost.
As Don Henley made clear at the beginning of the night, this was not the same band it once was and nobody would pretend so. The night was all about the music and what these songs collectively or individually meant to each individual in attendance. For some it was their first time seeing the band live, for others it was another chance to see one of music’s greatest legacies come together to celebrate nearly 50 years of Eagles.
The night took off with “Seven Bridges Road” before letting Deacon shine on “Take It Easy.” Henley would then promise two and a half hours of hits, “because we can.” And so came the guessing game of which hit would come next, steadily building anticipation throughout the night. Altogether, the six men would transition between songs with what seemed to be a dozen guitars each. Bringing all the favorites alive, “Witchy Woman,” “New Kid in Town,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” and “Love Will Keep Us Alive” summoned a beautiful spirit inside Sacramento on Tuesday.
As colorful desert scenes faded in the background from day to night and Walsh shredded away to “Life’s Been Good,” while wearing And 1 basketball shoes, “Life in the Fast Lane” would eventually become the predecessor to one of music’s greatest songs of all time.
The arena dimmed and a grand trumpet solo filled the night with an unexplainable familiarity that would see its climax as soon as the first notes from “Hotel California” began to play. The little lady next to me would say, “Oh, I’m ready for it,” and so innocently would encompass all the feelings the Eagles have given us for so many years.
Of course the wear and tear could be seen in the wrinkles, white hairs and occasional shortness of breaths, but no matter the minor kinks, Eagles can still soar strong with each and every song. Modestly taking on two encores, “The Long Run” would be their final performance of the night, appropriately so, as the old song goes, “kinda bent, but we ain’t breakin’ in the long run.”
*It’s been 42 years since the original release of ‘Hotel California.’
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