Friday, November 24, 2017
Dave Carlock - A Day In The Life
THE EAGLES SOAR AND WALSH ROCKS PT. 2
Originally Posted: 11-08-2013 8:21 PM
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This week continues my experiences at the “History Of The Eagles Tour” at Chicago's Allstate Arena as we pick back up at the second set following intermission. Intermission? Paul McCartney & Elton John don't take intermission… Well, at least I'll have one more shot at the merch tables. I wonder if the Eagles thought of that? Nahhhhh…

In the second set, Bernie Leadon was absent, and the band led off with “Wasted Time”, “Pretty Maids All In A Row”, and “I Can't Tell You Why”, featuring the easy, golden voice of Timothy B. Schmit. So golden in fact, it allowed him to be featured as a background singer on a large number of projects outside of the Eagles. To name only a few: Toto's “I Won't Hold You Back”, The Tubes' “She's A Beauty”, and the Hal Ketchum/Dolly Parton single “Two Of The Lucky Ones”, which I had the good fortune to work with him on. He was a quiet, total pro as you might suspect, and a pretty cool guy.

Next in the lineup was “New Kid In Town”, one of my favorites, followed by Timothy singing “Love Will Keep Us Alive”, the band's single from the Hell Freezes Over album. His voice sounded a little raw at moments, but considering his surgery less than a year ago for a throat and neck cancer scare, he put forth a really great performance.

The next few songs, pulled from The Long Run album, were “Heartache Tonight”, “Those Shoes”, and “In The City”, which featured Joe Walsh's lead vocal. When Walsh's name was mentioned, one thing became perfectly clear: Chicago LOVES Joe Walsh. And in that regard, the 18,000 in attendance were ecstatic to see this portion of the show becoming very quickly Walsh-centric as the setlist jumped from the Eagles catalogue to a few Joe Walsh tunes.

“Life's Been Good” was a masterpiece. This incredibly spare introduction sounded great in the arena. Walsh's voice was in great form. His stage presence was exciting. His guitar playing was as perfect an example of “in the pocket, bendy major pentatonic blues heaven” as it gets. His style is strong, effortlessly crossing the bridge between country/blues and rock that you realize why it became part of the lexicon of popular music. So much can be learned from studying the solos and phrasings, simply because we've taken them all for granted by now, like musical colloquialisms we all know and accept. Yet, all it takes is seeing him perform live to realize that that musical dialect was his!

After a jump back to perform “The Long Run”, Walsh was spinning around in a circle and trading licks with Glenn Frey, who echoed back Walsh's playing before launching into The James Gang's “Funk #49”, another of Joe Walsh's classic tracks. The crowd went insane again. Where the Eagles could soar, Joe Walsh rocked.

The final song in the second set was “Life In The Fast Lane”, a great choice to follow Walsh's onslaught of big rock mojo. Big vocals, great guitars and even the gigantic flange effect at the end, all brought the set to a strong ending.

Coming back for the encore, the band led off with “Hotel California” with lowered key, and a definite feeling of missing the song's writer and guitarist Don Felder on the electric 12-string. The song was good, but lowering the key took the energy down a notch. Not everything gets better with age sadly. Don Henley and Glenn Frey's vocals, while still good, were both struggling on high notes from time to time. Bringing down the key of “Hotel California” may have been necessary but it also brought its impact down as well.

Next, “Take It Easy”, co-written with Jackson Browne, brought back Bernie Leadon on guitar for the remainder of the show. One of the band's all-time feel good songs, it has encouraged travelers for 40 years that they weren't just in the middle of nowhere when they found themselves “on a corner in Winslow, Arizona”. Then they jumped full energy into Joe Walsh's, “Rocky Mountain Way”, and ratcheted up the energy once again as the crowd went insane—again—for Walsh and his material.

Where the band typically has two encores, they handled all the songs in one, likely to ensure their 11pm ending. And the song to end the night was their timeless metaphorical ballad for the rebel gunslinger, “Desperado”. Again, sparing no expense or detail, the song's famous piano part was played on a small Yamaha grand as opposed to a synth keyboard. Rolling out the best possible for everyone at every turn was part of what made the Eagles a billion dollar business over 41 years, and that tradition was definitely continued at my show, to the roars of a capacity Chicago audience.

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Dave Carlock
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