The Eagles are one of the most iconic and legendary bands still touring today and on April 19, 2018 they made a stop at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center (BJCC) in Birmingham, AL, a 17,654 seat arena, which appeared to be largely sold out.
Following Glenn Frey's death in January 2016, the future of The Eagles looked uncertain to the say the least. However, in the aftermath, a new touring group was put together adding Glenn's son Deacon Frey and Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill to a line up which includes Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, and Steuart Smith. Smith is a hired gun who replaced Don Felder a number of years ago in the touring line-up and has collaborated with The Eagles on a few songs recorded on the Long Road Out of Eden album.
The set began with the famous harmony song Seven Bridges Road and then continued through the night with one sing-a-long favorite after another. Don Henley, Vince Gill, Deacon Frey, Timothy B. Schmit, and Joe Walsh all took turns on lead singing the various Eagles' greatest hits. The set was particularly heavy with Joe Walsh hits, not just from The Eagles, but also from the James Gang and Walsh's solo career.
Everyone's voice seemed to be in peak condition, though by the encore everyone had to start feeling fatigue as The Eagles performed for over two and a half hours. Let that sink in for a moment- two and a half hours of music by one band and almost every single song played was a hit song that the crowd could sing along with. To say that this was a stellar show is an understatement.
For those who might be wondering how Vince Gill fits into The Eagles let me lay any fears to rest- he fit in perfectly. Particularly on Old '55 and Take It to the Limit, Vince Gill sang beautifully and perfectly and every time he was mentioned or shown on screen the crowd cheered loudly. It seems that Vince Gill was a big hit with the audience.
There has been some criticism that Deacon Frey should sing more of his father's hits instead of Vince Gill and I understand this concern. However, Deacon Frey only turned twenty-five years old a few days ago and is now singing in front of sold out major arenas across the country. Let's cut the guy some slack. Especially considering he's conceding a few songs to a legitimate Hall of Famer and one of the most highly acclaimed singer-songwriters and guitarists of the modern era. Deacon Frey sounded great. In fact, I would say he sounded flawless but let's not shove him in the deep end of the pool just yet. In a few years I'd venture to say Deacon Frey will be a major star in his own right.
Don Henley, who has somewhat of a reputation of being dry and perhaps a little too serious sometimes, was in fine form tonight joking and cutting up with the crowd and his fellow bandmates- especially Timothy B. Schmit who had recently fallen in the shower and injured his leg and had to sit through much of the performance with a large orthopedic boot on his foot. Henley came across, dare I say, likable. Henley's voice also remains in near perfection even at 70 years of age.
Finally, as I mentioned earlier, this setlist was oddly heavy with Joe Walsh songs but Joe Walsh was more than up to the occasion. Walsh has transitioned his career from being the lovable mess of party animal to the sober coolest grand-pa on Earth. He knocked it out of the park with Life's Been Good to Me (So Far), Rocky Mountain Way, and others.
The Eagles came out for three encores which included a stellar rendition of Hotel California, Rocky Mountain Way, and Desperado.
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The entire setlist is listed below.
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
Love Will Keep Us Alive
New Kid in Town
Next Big Thing
Victim of Love
Life's Been Good
Life in the Fast Lane
Rocky Mountain Way
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