I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Californian country rockers are still flying high
After one of Birmingham's hottest days of the year, what better way to unwind than in the company of the Eagles, the American West Coast act that epitomises Californian cool and the laid back US lifestyle? Don Henley, the band's drummer, singer and co-founder, announced that there would be 'no fireworks, no choreography', just two and a half hours of guys singing and playing guitars. What he didn't mention was there would be superb HD visuals, projected onto giant screens behind the stage. Even those at the back of the vast Arena Birmingham could see in detail what was happening onstage.
Eagles: Joe Walsh, Vince Gill, Deacon Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B Schmit (pic: George Holz)
When co-founder and Eagles stalwart Glenn Frey died in 2016 it appeared that the band would call it a day but, instead, Frey's son Deacon was recruited to the group, along with country music icon Vince Gill. Following the harmonious Seven Bridges Road by all band members to open the show, 25-year-old Deacon sang Take It Easy and received a huge cheer from the sold-out arena. He later reprised his dad's vocals on Already Gone and Peaceful Easy Feeling, which concluded with Glenn's picture being shown on the screen, which again prompted a massive ovation.
Persuading Vince Gill to join was a stroke of genius. He provided lead vocals on some to the Eagles' greatest songs – Take It To The Limit, Tequila Sunrise, New Kid In Town, Lyin' Eyes – as well as rip-roaring version of his own hit, Don't Let Our Love Start Slippin' Away. He injected real energy into the show, which was more than matched by the band's loose cannon, Joe Walsh. As bassist Timothy B. Schmit said, you never know what he's going to do next. Whether it's mugging for the cameras, getting raucous on Funk #49 (which featured a five-piece brass section) and Rocky Mountain Way or simply announcing to the millennials in the audience that 'your parents really like us', the 71-year-old is pure entertainment.
New Kid: Vince Gill on the big screen
Schmit, meanwhile, appears to be the band's calming influence, taking the lead on the beautiful ballads I Can't Tell You Why and Love Will Keep Us Alive. Keeping a watchful eye on proceedings was Don Henley, who these days looks more like the band's accountant than a rock rebel. Moving between drums, percussion and guitar, he ensured the show ran like clockwork and contributed two of the highlights – his solo hit The Boys of Summer and a poignant Desperado.
The Eagles are officially a quintet but there are six major players on tour, so mention must be made of guitarist Steuart Smith. He's performed with them on stage since 2001, taking a number of lead guitar parts, including in Hotel California. He's an unsung hero!
Fast Lane: The Eagles on stage in Birmingham
During the gig we were introduced to Witchy Woman, shown Life In The Fast Lane and been told that Life's Been Good. We were even allowed by the stewards to stand and dance during Heartache Tonight. All that remained was the band's first number one hit, Best of My Love, which closed the show and ushered the audience, suitably chilled out, into the cooling air outside.
Seven Bridges Road Take It Easy One of These Nights Take It to the Limit Tequila Sunrise Witchy Woman
In the City
I Can't Tell You Why
New Kid in Town
Peaceful Easy Feeling
Love Will Keep Us Alive
Don't Let Our Love Start Slippin' Away
Life's Been Good
The Boys of Summer
Life in the Fast Lane
Rocky Mountain Way
Best of My Love
Eagles' remaining 2019 UK tour dates:
June 30: Echo Arena, Liverpool;
July 2: First Direct Arena, Leeds;
July 4: SSE Hydro, Glasgow.