The Eagles revisit the California Hotel in St. Paul

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Welcome to the Eagles group. Members can leave at any time, but the Eagles can never leave.

Five years after the death of co-founder Glenn Frey, four years after returning to the road with the additions Vince Gill and Deacon Frey (Glenn’s son), and 50 years after their debut, the Eagles are on tour to celebrate their two bigger albums.

On Friday, the first of two nights at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, the Eagles recreated two of the 10 best-selling albums of all time – 1976’s “Hotel California” in its entirety, and every track from “Their Greatest Hits 1971. – 1975 “(but not in order), plus junk from the non-eagle work of Don Henley and Joe Walsh.

It was a satisfying long nostalgic evening filled with painstakingly precise sounds, wonderful vocal harmonies and enough guitar fireworks to make you think of Eagles rock. Well, Joe Walsh does.

The night started with a warden putting a vinyl copy of “Hotel California” on a turntable, dropping the needle, then the Eagles emerged from behind a curtain, with Henley on drums braying, “On a dark desert Highway / Cool wind in my hair. ” Dressed as extras from the television series “Deadwood”, he and a second group of eight musicians toured “Hotel California”, a musical treatise on the disillusionment of the American Dream from the perspective of jet-set rock stars who became a percent.

There were no words between the songs. The only real breakup was when a tall blonde woman walked across the stage and turned the LP over, setting up a three-dozen-song string section, led by Jim Ed Norman (who arranged a few Eagles songs) doing the instrumental cover of “Wasted Time”, which kicks off side 2.

Finally, after the closing number, the epic “The Last Resort”, Henley spoke, calling the album “our monument to the mirage”. He thanked the string players and a choir of what looked to be in their twenties, saying: “Their grandparents are huge fans of us.”

Henley, usually cynical, left the offhand comments to the sardonic Frey. The lone original Eagle showed more emotion in his conversation than usual, praising Deacon for doing a great job filling big shoes. “It’s a healing to see him grow up in this role,” he said sincerely. Then he broke down, “Only at 20 you can wear a shirt like this [loud black-and-white patterned] and get out of it. “

With 19 hits from the Eagles, Walsh and Henley catalogs, the post-intermission ensemble showcased the depth and versatility of the nine musicians on stage. 28-year-old Deacon Frey sounded exactly like his pop on “Take It Easy”. Gill, 64, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, sang other Frey arias including “Take It to the Limit” with wistful sincerity. Henley’s tousled tenor was always impressive, culminating in the recall of his 1984 solo smash “The Boys of Summer,” an ode to the glory days of youth that resonates differently when delivered by a 74-year-old.

While Henley is now the Eagles’ butler, just like he was in 2017 at Target Field, you wouldn’t get the best of the Eagles without Walsh. The live feed has been resident since 1976, it has brought excitement, personality and joy to the nearly three-hour program. And great guitar work. He was mean and uplifting at the same time during “Life’s Been Good”, his ironic solo smash. He had fierce guitar exchanges with Gill during “Funk # 49” and several collaborations with guitarist Steuart Smith, the Eagles’ secret weapon on tour since 2001, including twangy entanglement on “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and an in-depth conversation. dialog box on “Those Shoes”. “

“It was more fun being 20 in the 70s than being 70 in the 20s,” the 73-year-old joked.

A crowd of 13,000 people, mostly baby boomers, would probably agree. You can leave your 20s behind, but you can never forget them, especially when you have the chance to enjoy a live version of the 1970s soundtrack for middle-class white America.

Twitter: @JonBream • 612-673-1719


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