Whether you were there strictly for “Hotel California” or because you’ve been a fan since their glory days in the 70s, there was no better way to start the show than hearing the six-part harmony that comes to life in “Seven Bridges Road”.
Since 1971, the Eagles have been persistent in their classic American rock sound, delivering hit after hit on each uniquely constructed album. After the death of founding member Glenn Frey in 2016, the band thought it was finally time to hang up their guitars and put their legacy to sleep. But blessing the music world yet again, they still had songs to be sung and shows to be performed. After so many years having Frey’s voice as such an essential part of their sound, it was not an easy decision trying to figure out who could blend with the other members. With much debate and speculation, it was clear that the best decision (not only for the band, but also for the fans) was to keep it in the family. At 24 years old, Glenn’s son Deacon Frey gets to call himself an Eagle. The people of Louisville were not only blessed to witness the young Frey resemble so much of his dad, but thrive in his own way, as well. Another addition to the stage was country rock artist and former frontman of Pure Prairie League, Vince Gill. He may have looked like your average soccer dad, rocking his Louisville sweatshirt and jeans, but his voice was anything but that. His vocals and guitar solos blended perfectly with the original sound of the remaining members of The Eagles.
The 23-song set list was filled with nostalgic classics, highlighting each member’s talent, yet still staying true to their unified harmonious sound. “Take It Easy,” “Tequila Sunrise,” “Heartache Tonight,” and “Life in the Fast Lane” – just to name a few. The best part about being at a classic rock concert is being around the Woodstock-veteran, tie-dye t-shirt-wearing, know every word, reminiscent fans. They may be older in age, but never in spirit; from the first chord that was played to the last note sang, they were their youthful, teenage, Eagle-loving fans once more. The entire show felt like being a part of history, seeing some of the most influential people in music playing in the flesh.
Each member of the band was able to have the spotlight for one or more of the songs they performed. They were each highlighted in a way that portrayed their unique contributions to the overall sound of the band as a whole. Vince Gill sang lead vocals for a majority of the setlist, showing his range from the slower melodies of “Tequila Sunrise” to the rock n’ roll grunts in “Heartache Tonight.” He also sang lead on the passion-filled “Take It to the Limit,” which was accompanied by the backup harmonies of the other members to deliver an insanely memorable, and emotional part of the show. Deacon Frey was given the chance to sing lead vocals of one of the most popular Eagles songs, “Take it Easy,” and it was safe to say everyone in the room knew his dad was somewhere in the crowd singing right along with him. Joe Walsh was able to steal the stage for a few songs as well, including his ever-famous, “Life’s Been Good.” Ending the show with song number 20 was the guitar-shredding “Life in the Fast Lane,” which surely made everyone in the crowd lose their minds.
“But wait a minute – no way can they be done yet!” said everyone in the crowd. Of course not, returning to the stage for their obviously earned encore was the familiar, long awaited first few chords of “Hotel California.” After thousands of people sang every word in unison, Walsh returned as lead vocals and sang “Rocky Mountain Way.” Every song of the encore had audience members anxiously waiting the moment the curtains closed for good, begging for it to not to end. Song number 23 of the setlist rolled on, and brought instant tears into people’s eyes. That soft, simple piano melody began and everyone knew it was finally time to hear “Desperado” live. If you were able to get through this song without shedding a single tear, then I greatly commend you.
A week and half later, and I’m still reminiscing on those incredible 2 hours of that night. As if I expected anything less than what was delivered that night, the Eagles concert in Louisville, Kentucky will go down as one of my favorite nights in this city.