The fountain of youth has finally been discovered – by the Eagles when they played to a full Nationwide Arena on Wednesday night.
Some bands like the Eagles, who had hit songs in the 1970s, exist as washed-up cover bands with one original member pining away. The Eagles were the opposite of this, rollicking with musical passion for about three hours.
They sparked the audience up with songs like “Heartache Tonight” and “New Kid in Town,” only to croon down with beautiful renditions of “Best of My Love” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling.” When they played their new arrangement of “Witchy Woman,” they managed to make an old song simultaneously sound fresh and familiar.
In the dark, the audience of mostly 50-something aged people had one foot in the present and one foot in the past.
My very first taste of The Eagles was “Already Gone,” the greatest breakup song ever, and upon seeing this show, I’ll never again be satisfied hearing the recorded version of that song.
The Eagles’ current tour is called History of the Eagles, and the members of the band talked about the stories behind many of the songs they played since the prehistoric days of founding members Don Henley and Glenn Frey practicing in a small building behind a liquor store. The song “Desperado” and the album it came from were inspired by a book on outlaws in the Old West that had passed between members of the band.
The audience rippled with laughter when Frey dedicated the song “Lyin’ Eyes” to his first wife and referred to her as “plaintiff.” Frey said he came from “Detroit, Mich., the city that gave us Ted Nugent and won’t take him back.”
Even the bass guitar player got some love, with Timothy Schmit singing “I Can’t Tell You Why” in a spotlight.
Joe Walsh put on a hat with a video camera that pointed where he looked, and the video feed appeared on the big screens to the sides of the stage. Walsh, who attended Kent State University before dropping out, gave many fans their 15 seconds of fame while jamming away to his own song, “Life’s Been Good.”
Walsh and Frey dueled guitars, with one matching the other’s riff until Walsh broke off into a solo that flowed into a rendition of “Funk #49,” a James Gang song.
The only thing really absent from the concert was Henley’s song “The Boys of Summer,” but this complaint was quickly lost in the music.
The concert concluded with the crowd on their feet and swaying as the Eagles played “Hotel California” and a crisp, happy play of “Take it Easy.” This was followed by a long rendition of Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way,” and he showed off his guitar mastery.
The final song was a soothing play of “Desperado,” and it echoed in my skull like words of an old friend as I walked a mile down Neil Avenue in the dead of the night. Catching a bus didn’t change my mood, because any semblance of anxiousness had been sent away by the music hours before.
Now, I’ve seen Alice Cooper perform dressed as a gigantic spider and I’ve seen Black Sabbath tease an audience with an encore song that was not an encore because it was a song that everyone knew they would play. The Eagles did none of this, but brought the show back down to earth with the true meaning of rock ‘n’ roll.