Photos by Katrina Lat
It’s hard to comprehend how the Eagles turned their post-Frey era into a neo-Frey super show. But one thing was for certain about their Scotiabank Arena gig Sunday night: in Glenn’s words, it was such a fine sight to see.
First thing’s first, these Eagles are as sonically strong as they’ve ever been. Without missing a note, they rifled through a chart-topping catalogue one hit after another. Their signature five part harmonies were so seamless, they boldly opened the two and a half hour set with an acapella “Seven Bridges Road” intro. Even with 8 guys playing simultaneously, backed by strings, brass, bongos, and about one hundred guitar changes, the mix sounded nothing short of perfect.
While Don Henley took on his rightful role as ringleader, renowned singer-songwriter Vince Gill settled into his as the “New Kid In Town” (which included his spin on the song, of course). The crowd welcomed him warmly as he crooned most of Randy Meisner’s classics – including “Take It To The Limit” – and even a few of Frey’s. His vocals and guitar work proved him to be a true pro.
But the real star of the electric first half was Deacon Frey. The 24-year-old stood tall and boyish next to his stage mates. With long brown locks and a patchy ‘stache, he was the spitting image of his father. He even wore glasses on top of his head, holding the front strands of his hair back just like pops used to do. “I’m gonna sing one my dad used to sing if that’s okay,” he said, and the eerie ghost of Glenn Frey set in with the acoustic guitar. The standing ovation after “Peaceful Easy Feeling”, when they lit up a still of Glenn on the backsplash, lasted for what felt like forever and still not long enough. Henley caused more than a few tears, both off stage and on, when he commended Deacon for “doing his papa proud”.
The crowd, majority over 50, was also majority super fan. Everyone seemed to know every word and most were jumping from their seats to show they did. The woman next to me gasped at the first note of every song as if each one were her favourite. A group of men, all wearing the same Eagles tour shirt, swayed with their arms wrapped around each other for “Desperado.” A couple four rows from me got engaged during Timothy B. Schmit’s “I Can’t Tell You Why.” Everywhere you looked, people were experiencing more than just a concert.
If Deacon stole the first half of the show, Mr. Joe Walsh ran away with the rest. From “Life’s Been Good” to “Rocky Mountain Way,” the resident rock star delivered on his iconic guitar riffs and wild eyes. After asking the crowd to yell the word bologna in the middle of a song, it’s no wonder the man two rows back from me continued to scream “Joe Walsh for president!”
Then came the encores. And no, that ‘s’ wasn’t a typo. The first encore was a satisfying fake out, giving the audience exactly what they wanted before staging another walk off. The song, of course, was “Hotel California.” Two encores later, the Eagles finished strong with “Victim Of Love” and gave one last bow.
Both nostalgic and nuanced, the new Eagles pulled off a show that encompassed 50 years’ worth of absolute artistry and rock ‘n roll.