8 Jul 2020

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Gig Review: The Eagles @ Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin - 2/03/2019

03 Mar 2019 // A review by Jacquie Walters

“There are stars in the Southern sky” sang The Eagles, and even as the first few notes resounded around Forsyth Barr Stadium the audience could not help but think that the constellation was in fact on stage in front of them.

The beautiful wash of vocal harmonies from the line-up of original members Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B Schmidt and additions, Glenn Frey’s son Deacon and singer-songwriter Vince Gill was breath-taking. We were all on notice; this was not a performance that the super group were dialling in, this was them in their full glory.

With legendary Aussie rocker John Farnham having become unavailable as support act due to illness, the honour for opening the night fell to Marlon Williams. It was always going to be a tough gig for Williams. Despite delivering his usual tasteful and high-quality set, the crowd were largely impassive as they waited for the main event. Highlights for me were Make Way For Love and Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore. Williams has a gorgeous voice and he is not afraid to take risks, such as ending the set with a solo number on acoustic guitar. Hopefully he won over a few new fans in the audience, he certainly deserved to.

After The Eagles’ first number Joe Walsh introduced Deacon Frey, who then took the lead vocal on Take It Easy, establishing his credentials as a more than worthy inclusion in the line-up.

Don Henley won over the crowd with his opening line, “Hello South Islanders” and his announcement that the band were set to deliver two and a half hours of music without a break “Because you deserve it and because we can”.

Vince Gill was a fantastic addition to the group’s line up. A marvellous singer-songwriter with a huge following in his own right, Gill delivered Take It To The Limit and Tequila Sunrise with real class, honouring Glenn Frey’s vocal legacy with style. The group were then joined by a brass section blasting out a very tight rendition of Witchy Woman.

The vocal commitment of all the band members was a joy to behold. The passion for the material remains and the audience responded with huge enthusiasm. I Can’t Tell You Why was particularly gorgeous as was Deacon Frey’s vocal on Peaceful Easy Feeling which brought a tear to many an eye, especially when his Dad’s photo appeared on the big screen at the end of the song.

It is hard to single out individual numbers for praise, however, as hit after hit was played with expert musicianship and huge heart.

Vince Gill on Lyin' Eyes was a singalong hit and he seemed to enjoy hearing the audience following his lead word for word (especially in the choruses). Joe Walsh was wonderful in Life’s Been Good – his particular brand of raw energy is a great complement to the band’s burnished vocal harmony-dominated numbers. Walsh’s vocals and lead guitar soared, undimmed by the passage of the years evident in close-ups of his hands.

It was really enjoyable seeing some material from band member’s solo work included in the evening, especially Don Henley’s gorgeous 1980's hit The Boys of Summer.

Heartache Tonight brought the evening to a whole other level, the crowd leaping to their feet with a roar as it started. Life In The Fast Lane brought the main body of the concert to a close with true rocker energy.

The audience was never going to let the band go that easily, however. The first encore featured a spine-tingling trumpet solo intro to the iconic Hotel California. The audience were still asking for the more and the band returned a second time for a blistering rendition of Joe Walsh’s Rocky Mountain Way, with Walsh sporting a Maori All Blacks cap.

A third request for an encore was granted and the night closed with a deeply poignant and beautiful delivery of Desperado. Was it my imagination, or did Don Henley raise an ironic eyebrow as he sang the line “you ain’t getting no younger”? Whether he did or not, it’s been a long road since the song was first released in 1973. Its power, like The Eagles’, is undiminished.

This was an evening that clearly demonstrated that really great songs (and really great singers and musicians) endure and stand the test of time. It was a privilege to be present to witness The Eagles in action. They truly deserve their super group status.


Other Reviews By Jacquie Walters

Belladonna - Single Review: Calling Out Your Name
25 Mar 2020 // by Jacquie Walters
Wellington-based singer-songwriter Belladonna’s second single Calling Out Your Name is a refreshing and surprisingly upbeat piece of work, especially given its topic of clinging on to the past. Belladonna has a gift for writing a catchy hook, and she employs that talent to great effect here.
Jen Turner - Single Review: Singing With Whales
12 Mar 2020 // by Jacquie Walters
Singing with Whales by Jen Turner is a real gem of a single. Reflective and introspective in the particular way that break up songs tend to be, it’s also seriously catchy.
Ria Hall - Album Review: Manawa Wera
27 Feb 2020 // by Jacquie Walters
Ria Hall’s new collection of songs Manawa Wera is everything anyone could want from a new release. Hall is without doubt one of Aotearoa’s finest female vocalists and her material is thought-provoking and moving without ever being strident or preachy.
Gig Review: Jackie Bristow @ The Boathouse, Nelson - 14/02/2020
15 Feb 2020 // by Jacquie Walters
There was a lot to love about Jackie Bristow’s performance at The Boathouse in Nelson. The Boathouse has got to be one of the most spectacular settings in New Zealand for a music venue.
Levi Lights On Project - Single Review: Like A Tie
14 Nov 2019 // by Jacquie Walters
Levi Lights On Project have a knack for writing material that captures the zeitgeist and their latest single is no exception. Moody, gritty and evocative, Like a Tie is the perfect song for a television or film soundtrack with a Walter Mitty-esque theme of an office worker or corporate executive who dreams of throwing off the shackles of the 9 to 5 and living a more colourful existence.
Albi & The Wolves - Gig Review: Albi and the Wolves @ Room Twenty5, Nelson
26 Oct 2019 // by Jacquie Walters
Auckland-based trio Albi and the Wolves have made a real impression on the festival scene both here and overseas, especially since their Best Folk Artist of the Year Tui Award win in 2018. Just days ago, the group were named in the line-up for WOMAD 2020, a well-deserved nod for the very hardworking and talented Chris Dent, Micheal Young, and Pascal Roggen.
Gig Review: Tami Neilson @ Nelson Arts Festival - 21/10/2019
22 Oct 2019 // by Jacquie Walters
Tami Neilson is outrageously excellent. Her voice is full, powerful, nuanced and rich.
Adam Hattaway and The Haunters - Album Review: Crying Lessons
17 Sep 2019 // by Jacquie Walters
Crying Lessons is a ripper of a second album from Adam Hattaway and the Haunters. Full of sass, soul, and purr it veers from 1960's Ray Columbus and the Invaders territory in Until The Right Time to my hands-down favourite the rollicking Rolling Stones-esque good time that is Heartbreak Heart.
View All Articles By Jacquie Walters

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