When Joe Walsh performed his solo hit “Life’s Been Good” during the Eagles’ first show back at the L.A. Forum in more than three decades on Wednesday night, he made a small but significant change to the lyrics that perfectly summed up the band’s enduring appeal: “Everybody’s so different, we haven’t changed.”
And aside from having a few more years under their belts, he’s right. The band — which formed in 1971, broke up in 1980, and reunited in blockbuster fashion in 1994 — is in top form, still nailing their signature rich harmonies and wailing guitar solos. But before bringing out the big guns the show started small, with only founding members Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Bernie Leadon sitting on stools with their guitars and telling stories about the early days.
Following the nostalgic acoustic set, Frey asked the crowd, “Do you like California country?” The trio was then joined by a backing band — including Timothy B. Schmit, who started playing with the Eagles in 1977 during the Hotel California Tour — for “Peaceful Easy Feeling” (check out the appropriate SoCal sunset that backed the band in the photo above). But there was still one missing piece: Walsh, who took over for Leadon in 1975, was needed for the haunting guitar strains of “Witchy Woman.”
From there, it was basically like hearing The Eagles Greatest Hits live, starting with “Tequila Sunrise,” “Already Gone,” “Best of My Love,” and “One of These Nights,” and going into intermission with “Take It to the Limit,” on which Frey took over lead vocals for original guitarist Randy Meisner. It was hard to keep track of all the band members throughout the night, considering they constantly swap lead vocal duties, plus Frey switches between guitar and keyboard, and Henley frequently pulls double-duty, singing from behind the drum kit. The band has no true frontman, so their show feels like a team effort.
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