October 11, 2013
American Airlines Arena
Miami, FL USA
Review by Scott Witty
Photos by Barry Bond
The Long Road Home Lands At the AAC
The Eagles first night of a two day sellout in Dallas was everything I had hoped for. The crowd waiting to enter the American Airlines Center was well dressed and mannerly with your typical 30-60 year olds fan base, some of them toting young children and grandchildren. It was not the kind of crowd usually seen at a rock show. In anticipation of a sold out show, everyone quickly took their assigned seat. What followed was an awesome display of musical talent, and an informative narration of the life known as The Eagles that has spanned almost three generations.
This tour, dubbed the "History of the Eagles Tour" (to coincide with their newly released documentary DVD) was just that. The show started with Henley and Frey entering and sitting down with acoustic guitars, in a coffeehouse like setting with amps at their feet and gear all around them with many dimly lit light fixtures hung above their heads. Henley began to tell the tale of them meeting, the band forming, and then rolled into "Saturday Night", one of their first songs they wrote together. The next few songs "Train Leaves Here This Morning", "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and "Witchy Woman" brought in the rest of the members of the band until they had a full cast. Henley alternated, playing guitar, drums and keyboard, while Frey took over the narrative duties between songs. The stage then transformed into a full blown rock configuration with 2 huge percussion sets and various keyboards and organs wheeled out along with a grand piano, back-lit by panels that played video from the documentary. The first set included 12 songs before Henley announced a break because he had to go to the bathroom!
At the break, I overheard a conversation between a guy and his friends. "Man, I hope they kick it up a notch on the second set. I wanna jam! Everybody's just sitting there!" This was true. The crowd stayed mostly in their seats, standing up only to clap at the end of an epic tune. But this was the early Eagles, back when they were more country-esque, a little more lower key. Remember, this is the "history" of the Eagles. Bring on Joe Walsh! He didn't start with the band until halfway through. Be patient my son.
The second set started out slow again, with songs like "Wasted Time", "Pretty Maids All in a Row" and "New Kid in Town". I was beginning to feel the guy's disappointment. Just then the wild man of American rock n roll, Joe Walsh, took over and gave the crowd a much needed shot in the arm. He performed his signature tunes "In the City" and "Life's Been Good" complete with his goofy expressions and gesturing. He's always a crowd pleaser with his antics and his brilliant guitar playing. The band now picked up the pace as Walsh and Frey traded licks on "Funk 49" to the thrill of the crowd. Twenty four songs and some two and a half hours later, the band closed the show with "Life in the Fast Lane" and left the stage. Now, the crowd was on their feet cheering wildly. A new phenomenon that I had heard of recently suddenly went into action. The whole arena lit up with thousands of people's cell phone flashlight apps on full bright, replacing cigarette lighters as the enticement for the band to come back and do one more song in a darkened arena. I think I saw maybe 2 lighters spark up, but those patrons were quickly pounced upon by security and scolded for such an outburst! Damn hippies!
The Eagles came back on and did not one, but two more encores which contained four more songs. Of course, "Hotel California" started it off, followed by "Take It Easy". Then a great sing along of "Rocky Mountain Way" led by Walsh, had the crowd on their feet, dancing and stomping on the floor. They concluded the show with a great version of "Desperado". Almost 3 hours of music! I was satisfied and it truly was a history of The Eagles.