Eagles at the Pepsi Center, 10-5-13 (photos, review)By Michael Behrenhausen | October 7th, 2013 | 2 comments
Saturday night at the Pepsi Center, the Eagles — the oft-maligned, best-selling American group of all time — gave a capacity crowd a career-spanning history lesson. Touring in support of a recent documentary, “History of the Eagles,” the band performed an overly business-like, yet still pleasing set of the chart-toppers and classic rock staples that have continued to keep them firmly fixed in the American consciousness since the early 1970s.
The evening began with founders Glen Frey and Don Henley perched on stools strumming acoustic guitars, harmonizing over the tasty early nugget “Saturday Night.” Following, they were joined song-after-song by former and current band members including long-absent guitarist Bernie Leadon (who played with the band from 1971-1975), bassist/vocalist Timothy B. Schmidt and crowd favorite, guitarist/vocalist Joe Walsh.
Backed by impressive visuals and occasionally distracting, spoken historical snippets from Frey as taken from the documentary, the first set offered a slightly sedate collection of breezy early hits like “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Tequila Sunrise,” “Witchy Woman” and “Lyin’ Eyes.” Things picked up a bit with livelier versions of the rocker “Already Gone” and the danceable “One Of These Nights.”
Throughout the evening, the band nailed the classic harmonies for which they are known. While all were in
fine voice, high marks go to Don Henley, who offered not only impressively soaring vocals, but manned the
drum-kit for much of the performance.
After a brief intermission the group focused more on the rock aspect of the band’s career. And thanks in
large part to the antics and stellar playing of Joe Walsh, it gave the evening a much-needed shot in the arm. His liveliness and spontaneity served to perk up his bandmates just enough to break them out of the stiff, packaged feel for which they have been previously criticised.
Along with Frey/Henley classics “Heartache Tonight,” “Life In The Fast Lane” and the sublime Timothy B.
Schmidt ballad “I Can’t Tell You Why,” Walsh tunes “Life’s Been Good,” “In The City” and the James Gang rave up “Funk #49″ had the crowd singing, dancing and cheering loudly.
The band reserved the inevitable for their encore with a spot-on rendition of the timeless “Hotel California” followed by a lively “Take It Easy.” A hearty run-through of Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way” was met with roars of approval from the Mile High locals. Then as if to bring the evening’s performance full-circle Henley took center-stage, for a near solo version of “Desperado” to close the show.
Ultimately, the band — performing a staggering line-up of classics — did prove that theirs is indeed a history worth repeating.
Train Leaves Here This Morning
Peaceful Easy Feeling
The Best of My Love
One of These Nights
Take It To The Limit
Wasted Time (Reprise) – prerecorded
Pretty Maids All In A Row
I Can’t Tell You Why
New Kid In Town
Love Will Keep Us Alive
In The City
Life’s Been Good
The Long Run
Life In The Fast Lane
Take It Easy
Rocky Mountain Way
Michael Behrenhausen is a Denver-based writer, musician and regular Reverb contributor. The worst crime he ever did was play some rock ‘n’ roll.
John Leyba is a Denver Post photojournalist and regular contributor to Reverb.