Eagles Tour Looks at Band's History -- When Convenient

Old white people like the Eagles. That is the biggest takeaway from Wednesday night's "History of The Eagles" stop at Gila River Arena. That, and history is very easily changed when it needs to be for the sake of some feel-good moments on tour.

They also more or less left founding member Randy Meisner and influential Eagle Don Felder out of their tale altogether. Meisner was afforded a very quick shout-out when current bass player (and influential member in his own right) Timothy B. Schmit took the stage. But Felder . . . Felder seems to have been thrown into Big Brother Don Henley's memory hole, never to be spoken of again.

Maybe they just forgot to mention him, as they also seemed to gloss over the decade called the '80s, when Henley and Glenn Frey weren't recording together -- they referred to their "40-year songwriting partnership" on several occasions.

Which brings me to my next point: Perhaps the Eagles have sold so many albums because their fans are going senile and buying them multiple times. Seriously, I'm 26, and I felt like one of the 10 youngest people there, besides the children brought by parents, as what I must assume was punishment.

The show was pretty slow throughout and featured a fair bit of commentary by the members, as well as clips from their documentary History of the Eagles, as the band's army of roadies changed out each member's instrument after every song. The best part was when Joe Walsh was wearing a camera on his hat for "Life's Been Good," and one guy grabbed the hat while a different guy brought him his guitar. But, hey, when you're the second-biggest selling recording artist of all time, the little things matter.

The opening was cute, with Henley and Frey sitting down on stage, Henley on his amp and Frey on a stool on stage made to resemble a dimly lit jam room. They opened with "Saturday Night," which had a bit of mandolin in it, but neither Frey nor Henley was playing a mandolin.

After the song they introduced founding member Bernie Leadon, who was responsible for the ghost banjo, before having Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh each enter in similar fashion.

I suppose it made sense that the show would begin with the band sitting down, especially because there were posted signs on the door of the venue about the evening's anti-standing-up rules. But most of that crowd is probably usually in bed by 8 p.m., so opening with a couple of snoozers really kind of let all the air out of the place.

The Eagles really did not play a single rock 'n' roll song between 8:10 p.m. when the concert began, and 10:41 p.m. when they played "Those Shoes." Everything up until then was country, at best, if not singer-songwriter stuff. They promised to "rock a little harder" during the first hour, but then they played "Already Gone." I suppose compared to everything they played up until then, "Already Gone" is rock 'n' roll.

Maybe they could have been more rockin', but they really just had no energy. Joe Walsh and Glenn Frey showed some spark, but for the most part, it was a bunch of old guys standing on a stage strumming.

Another highlight of the show was when Henley talked about the media in the late 1970s saying The Eagles were old hat. The reason it was a highlight was because I immediately thought, "Huh, you're going to read that tomorrow morning, too." Because what was true in the '70s holds today, as well.

Critics Notebook:

Last Night: The Eagles at Gila River Arena

Setlist: They've been doing the same set for 15 months!

Overheard in the crowd. "I can't believe he's here, he can't be here, oh my God he's here, is here?" The guy in front of me when Bernie Leadon took the stage. Sir, they've all been touring together for 15 MONTHS.

Miscellaneous: I finally bought a lemonade from the guy yelling, "Lemonade, lemonade like grandma made," and it was cheaper than water.

Correction: This piece incorrectly printed the name of the Eagles song for which Joe Walsh wore a camera. It also stated "banjo" when it should stated "mandolin."

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Jeff Moses
Contact: Jeff Moses