23 May 2019

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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

Gig Review: Graeme James @ The Boathouse, Nelson - 17/05/2019
17 May 2019 // by Jacquie Walters
Every once in a while you happen to have the very good fortune to attend a truly remarkable concert. Graeme James' gig at The Boathouse in Nelson was one such event.
Andrew Masseurs - Single/Video Review: Everyone Wants To Be Your Love
12 May 2019 // by Jacquie Walters
Everyone Wants To Be Your Love is the second single from Andrew Masseurs' album Traveller In The Sky, and it's another on-form offering from this talented artist. Masseurs' voice is powerful and rich, and his vocal sound is stunning in the chorus in particular, reaching towards the epic heights of Bono or Keane in the final third of the track.
Beth Danelle - Single Review: Hold On
12 May 2019 // by Jacquie Walters
Beth Danelle's new single Hold On is a balanced and well-produced pop track. It has a good hook in the chorus and it will appeal to anyone who is feeling out of sync with their current life situation.
Gig Review: Sophie Mashlan @ Room Twenty5, Nelson - 11/05/2019
12 May 2019 // by Jacquie Walters
Sophie Mashlan wowed the room last night at Room Twenty5, an intimate house concert venue near Nelson. Her talent was immediately evident with her rich, resonant voice commanding attention, complemented beautifully by her accomplished finger-style guitar playing.
Gig Review: Caroline Easther and The Cinnamon Girls @ Fairfield House, Nelson - 3/05/2019
04 May 2019 // by Jacquie Walters
Caroline Easther seems like a completely lovely person which must have made last night’s experience at Fairfield House all the more difficult for her. Despite her best efforts to push through, with the support of her band The Cinnamon Girls (Alan Galloway, Hamish Graham and Murray Costello), her voice was just not playing the game.
Late Model European - Single Review: Moments
03 May 2019 // by Jacquie Walters
Moments is the second single from the upcoming debut album from Late Model European collaborators Tones Thorburn and John Nelson, and there’s plenty to enjoy about this track.With a lovely, delicate piano intro heralding a well-produced and well-balanced offering, the musicianship on Moments is enjoyable throughout, especially the feature string section which provides the epic feel that Late Model European are reaching for.
Andrew Masseurs - Single/Video Review: Set Me Free
10 Apr 2019 // by Jacquie Walters
Set Me Free is the first single from Andrew Masseurs' upcoming album Traveller in the Sky, and it’s a real ripper. Masseurs’ vocals are completely on point and the driving beat of the track sets the perfect pace.
The Polly Johnson Set - Album Review: The Polly Johnson Set
18 Mar 2019 // by Jacquie Walters
Get your hands on this self-titled debut album from The Polly Johnson Set as soon as possible. It’s the album you didn’t know you needed.
View All Articles By Jacquie Walters

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