The Eagles – Arena, Birmingham – 28th June 2019

Tonight saw The Eagles in Birmingham. As they said when they took to the stage, there are no fireworks, just some guys with guitar playing. With no support act the band took to the stage at 8pm and promised two and a half hours of music.

While they may not have had fireworks they did however have an impressive stage show in the form of video screens behind and to the side of them which looked great and were used well. In any arena show video screens are definitely appreciated by those at the back (especially when like tonight, ticket prices weren’t cheap) as they get to see something a bit more than tiny matchstick figures in the distance.

The Eagles have been around a long time – their debut album was released in 1972, and with a fantastic catalogue of songs as a band plus solo material they’ve got plenty to pick from for a setlist. They’re interesting as a band in that rather than having a dedicated lead singer, half the band seem to do lead vocals on various songs. Obviously Glenn Frey is no longer alive but his legacy is and taking his place in the band for the tour is his son Deacon Frey. When he was introduced to the audience the huge amount of applause and cheering made it clear the fans were happy to see him there.

Opening with “Seven bridges road” things felt a little slow to warm up but by the third song, “One of these nights” then the crowd were happy and from there the set was strong with songs from all their albums. Songs such as “one of these nights”, “Take it to the limit”, “Tequila sunrise”, “new kid in town”, “Lyin’ eyes” and “Life in the fast lane” went down particularly well. We also got a couple of Joe Walsh songs and a couple of James gang songs (Joe Walsh’s previous band), but of the non-Eagles songs it was the Don Henley song that went down best – “Boys of summer”. With “Life in the fast lane” ending the set then it was a case of waiting for the inevitable encore, and that’s where I felt they got things wrong.
The band came back out and did “Hotel California” which was fantastic to hear live and most of the crowd were singing along to it too. That would have been a perfect end to the night, but instead they went off and then came back on for a second encore which consisted of Joe Walsh’s “Rocky mountain way” and then “Desperado”. It was a great performance of “Desperado” but it just didn’t live up to “Hotel California” in my mind and I’d have preferred to see them do them te other way round. The band then ended the night with a third encore “Best of my love”, and yes it’s a great song but by that point half the audience had left – they’d have been far better off including it in the main set.

Niggles about the order of the encores aside this really was a fantastic night of music. I don’t think it’s actually been described as a farewell tour or their final tour but with the three remaining original/long-term members all being in their 70s you’ve got to think that another UK tour is unlikely. Sadly these legendary bands won’t be around forever so it’s worth going to see them while you still can. Despite their advanced years these guys still have what it takes to entertain a huge crowd for well over two hours.

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.
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