The Eagles – O2 Arena

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(There was a really strict policy against taking photos or videos of this show. And the security were very hot on enforcing it. So I’m impressed that the video above was taken – even though the quality is a little dodgy)

Why this gig?

Oh, because it’s the Eagles. They’re not the trendiest band in the world, but I’ve been listening to them for a very long time. I’ve never seen them live before and this “History of the Eagles” tour was likely to be my last chance. I thought hard about going as a) my ticket was £95 (that’s £80 face value plus £15 of booking fees and other nonsense) and b) it was at the O2. But in the end I decided to give it a go.

Support

Nope. You get no support. But you do get almost three hours of the Eagles.

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The show starts with Glenn Frey and Don Henley coming out and singing “Whatver Happened to Saturday Night” accompanying themselves on acoustic guitars. It’s always been one of my favourite Eagles songs, so it’s a great start to the show. They then bring out former member Bernie Leadon who joins them for “Train Leaves Here This Morning” (an altogether more obscure song. Then Timothy Schmidt joins them for “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and Joe Walsh comes out for “Witchy Woman”. In between songs the band talk about how they got together and how this songs came to be written and recorded – it really is a history lesson about the Eagles.

Then things switch up a notch as the session musicians who make up the rest of the band join them (and I think this is where Bernie Leadon leaves the stage) and they start playing songs from their second album, Desperado. It’s at this point that I realise they’re going through their catalogue in pretty much chronological order. I also spot a couple of obvious songs that from the first couple of albums that they have skipped over – so I start to get an idea about the encore.

Sure enough, songs from On the Border and One of These Nights follow. And then it’s the interval. During the interval I start pondering the rest of the evening and realise that we might be in trouble here. Sure. we still have Hotel California to go. But anyone who follows the Eagles career knows that things for seriously downhill after that.

They come back to a recording of “Wasted Time (Reprise)” and then play “Pretty Maids All in a Row” (from Hotel California). They then get slightly non-chronological by playing “I Can’t Tell You Why” (from The Long Run) before returning to Hotel California for “New Kid in Town”.

And then, as predicted, it starts going wrong. There’s one of the new studio songs from the Hell Freezes Over live album and a couple more songs from The Long Run. For some reason The Long Road Out of Eden is ignored completely – but, to be honest, I’m not sure I can remember hearing a single song from that album.

It’s not quite as bad as it could be. “Heartache Tonight” is played in an interesting new fashion and there’s a cover version of Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good” which is great. But the chronological straitjacket they’ve put themselves in ensures that the second half isn’t up to the standard of the first.

But, of course, towards the end it all kicks up a notch and they start playing the songs that were obviously missing earlier in the evening. The main set closes with “Life in the Fast Lane” and the first encore is “Hotel California” itself. Another short break and the second encore is “Take it Easy”, Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way” (not sure why Joe Walsh is the only member to get solo stuff in  the set – I would have loved to here “Boys of Summer”) and, finally, “Desperado”.

I’m glad I was there. The band were on good form and the set list was (mostly) pretty good.

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