The Eagles’ stadium show, we were told, would feature “no wind machines, no fireworks, no dancers… our mission tonight is to give you a two hour vacation from all the turbulence in the world, so sit back, relax, ‘cos it'll all be there in the morning.”
On a midsummer evening when it was barely dark enough by the end of the set to get the benefit of the stage lighting, the classic Californian country-rock group did indeed offer a show which was low on set dressing.
Yet their setlist reminded us just how much outstanding material they’ve produced. Indeed, it would be possible to fill a review by just listing the well-known songs they performed, from One of Those Nights and Take It to the Limit, to Life in the Fast Lane and Desperado.
Some classics are more classic than others, however, with Lyin’ Eyes earning an enormous, swooning singalong, and encore opener Hotel California signalling the point after which many thousands made a dash for the tram, having heard their fill. The barrelling uplift of Take it Easy was made all the more affecting by the presence of their late founder member Glenn Frey’s 29-year-old son Deacon singing his father’s lead vocal part.
Don Henley, the only founder member still in the group, remains a sublime talent, and his slick 1984 hit The Boys of Summer was greeted with a roar of approval. There were also lead vocal turns for long-serving bassist Timothy B Schmit, whose I Can’t Tell You Why is a less familiar part of the band’s canon, and the brilliant but ever-nebulous Joe Walsh.
His vocal creaked but was filled with personality on the reggae-paced Life’s Been Good. Before a version of Funk #49 by his old band the James Gang he cackled, “I had a lot more fun bein’ 20 in the ‘70s than I'm having bein’ 70 in the ‘20s.” For rock veterans, their attitude is perfect.