Eagles / Jimmy Buffett Show Review
I have a policy these days that if a band does not approve me for press credentials, I don’t cover them on the blog. But, it’s my blog and I’m allowed to break the rules. And, last night was a show that just begged for an exception.
I was a casual fan, and had never seen the Eagles. With all of the recent deaths in the rock universe, I figure it was time to check out their live show.
Before the show one of our friends asked if I was going to review the show, and I answered “Probably not, unless something special happens.” I did absolutely no prep work, and took no notes, nor photos, but something special did indeed happen.
But, let me start with something that was not special. Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band. Buffett and crew sounded mediocre, generally looked ill-prepared and were kind of going through the motions. They were having fun, but their set list was generally the same as always, and their sound and show just doesn’t translate well for rock fans. Buffett is perfectly fine for an arena or amphitheater show where everyone is drunk and just looking for a reason to stumble around the arena – and as someone who has done that once or twice, there is nothing wrong with that – but it did not work at Camping World Stadium.
Things got much better when the Eagles slipped onto the dark stage and started the first sweet notes of “Seven Bridges Road.” At first I thought it was a little odd starting with a cover, but it worked out perfectly and set the stage for a fantastic night of music. The song is built around five-part harmonies and the band pulled it off masterfully. The pristine harmonies were a constant theme all night.
Immediately after it finished, Don Henley introduced the young guy on the stage: “Glenn’s son Deacon,” and they kicked into “Take It Easy,” and the kid sounded pretty damn good. Deacon Frey took lead vocal responsibilities on a few other songs, and after quickly addressing the crowd with a heartfelt thank you, he offered, “This is one of my dad’s songs,” and kicked into “Already Gone.”
The other new kid in town was Vince Gill who delivered near perfect renditions of “Take It to the Limit” and “Tequila Sunrise” early in the set. He later mentioned that he was a 61 year-old kid living a dream just before playing “New Kid In Town.” Some drunk woman kept screaming “he has the voice of an angel.” She was loud, but it was hard to argue with her… Gill also helped expand the set list diversity a bit by throwing in one of his country songs, “Next Big Thing.”
Henley mentioned early in the evening that they would be playing for two and a half hours “because we can.” And along with Joe Walsh and Timothy B Schmit, the trio of 70 year-old rockers delivered all night long. Schmit had his foot in a cast propped up in front of him the entire show, but was solid all night, and delivered a few priceless lead vocals.
Henley spent the night rotating through his drum kit, a percussion riser and an acoustic guitar and shined frequently. He was affable and likable, and his vocals are still quite good. He also shared a few poignant Glenn Frey stories, including one about his old ’55 Chevy, before the band offered up a cover of Tom Waits’ “Ol’ 55.”
For the first 90 minutes of the show, the perfectly constructed set list (see below) was generally more mellow, acoustic stuff that had the crowd singing along frequently. Up to that point, Joe Walsh was kind of a bit player, but damn did that change over the last hour, and the energy and volume kicked up a few notches, as well.
Over the last ten or so songs, Walsh spent the majority of the time in the spotlight. Speaking to the crowd, his words are damn near incomprehensible, but it was obvious he was in rare form. His vocals are not what they once were, but at 70, he sounded great. And, the dude can still play guitar. With 40 minutes left, there were only about 4 Eagles hits the band had yet to play and I was wondering how they’d get to 2 1/2 hours. The answer… dig into Walsh’s catalog. They added four of his songs into their closing sequence, including scorching versions of James Gang’s “Walk Away” and “Funk 49.” Priceless.
They closed their set with “Life in the Fast Lane” and then encored with a near-perfect version of “Hotel California” where the dual guitar solos from Walsh and touring guitarist Steuart Smith was mesmerizing. Smith delivered pristine guitar work all night and was a nice surprise. The band came out for a 2nd encore where they dished out a raucous “Rocky Mountain Way” before sending the fully-satiated fans into the cool Orlando night with a beautiful version of “Desparado.”
We had $100 seats up in the Orlando International flight path, but it was worth every cent. A legendary band delivering an epic show with a little help from their friends. I’d go again, but might skip the opener next time…
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Eagles Setlist – Camping World Stadium, Orlando
Seven Bridges Road
Take It Easy
One of These Nights
Take It to the Limit
In the City
I Can’t Tell You Why
Peaceful Easy Feeling
Best of My Love
New Kid in Town
Love Will Keep Us Alive
Next Big Thing
I Don’t Want to Hear Anymore
Victim of Love
Life’s Been Good
Life in the Fast Lane
Rocky Mountain Way