From the simple blue light used as their entrance to the final, poignant notes of “Desperado,” The Eagles concert at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday night was one of the most inconspicuous ever seen at a show of its size. The lights were tasteful, the between-song banter sincere but at a minimum, showmanship genuine yet devoid of eccentricity. It spoke to a quiet and supreme confidence of a band in the game for 45+ years. The Eagles do not need pomp and circumstance to win the night over.
There was little time wasted in addressing the elephant in the room, when Glenn Frey’s son Deacon taking the lead on “Take It Easy” on just the 2nd song of the night. Young Frey is the next best thing and he had a formidable musical presence all night long, even taking an impressive lead guitar turn on “Already Gone.” His inclusion was one of merit and not of necessity.
Other newcomer Vince Gill also fit in quite nicely with some energized electric guitar work and well-delivered lead vocals on old favorites “Take It To The Limit,” “Tequila Sunrise,” and “New Kid In Town.” It was also striking how his song “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin Away” fit seamlessly into an Eagles show. Timothy B Schmidt provided his melodic, steady low end while Joe Walsh arguably stole the night with a charming stage presence and his lead guitar chops as strong as ever at 70 years old.
But the buck stops, as it always did, with Don Henley. The overall tone of the night most closely reflected his understated onstage persona. Singing and playing the drums is visibly taxing on the elder Henley (as evident by the fact that he played auxiliary percussion on some songs to give himself a break) but still managed deliver his most consequential leads “Life In The Fast Lane” and “Hotel California” to near perfection. Henley has never been the most gregarious front man and that may be where Frey’s absence is missed most. But with a catalogue like The Eagles have there’s no problem with, at this point, letting the music do all the taking.
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER -> @PatrickGoesPop