The Eagles at the Delta Center Salt Lake City, Utah June 6th 2002
Elisabeth Gause’s Eagles Farewell 1 Tour DVD Review stirs up memories of a warm summer night in 2002.
It didn’t take longÃ¢Â?Â¦the intoxication…caused by the show…began with “Seven Bridges Road”. The acappella intro was stunning, if they were lip-syncing, I wouldn’t be surprised, the delivery was perfect, everyone on key/pitch, with impeccable timing. That rich sound that only comes from the human voice, five people in perfect harmony. From that moment, it was clear…one of America’s best bands was showing us how it’s done.
The players were, in no order of importance: Timothy B. Schmidt, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Joe Walsh. Plus a crackerjack group of supporting musicians including; Steuart Smith, guitar player extraordinaire. (Making up the gap created by the absence of Don Felder)
One might point out the technical imperfections, like Joe’s mic not being on when he launches into “In the City” or Steuart’s guitar never being loud enough (did this old geezer really say that?) and sometimes taking several seconds for it to come on at all. The same with Joe’s guitar, completely missing several short slide leads in a couple of songs. I thought, “I just spent one hundred and thirty-five bucks on this show, do you think you could turn on the mics and guitars so I can hear the boys sing and strum?” For the most part the lighting was good, the textures and moods were right on, although some of the fast, big changes were off time. The players never acknowledged the glitches and played on as if everything was perfect, further supporting their professionalism.
But to dwell on the technical details would be completely missing the point, and the point was: “The performance of insightful songs about lovers, and relationships.” With poise and polish they sang of joyÃ¢Â?Â¦and pain, richness gone to excess, love, and regret, with a craftsmanship and showmanship that takes nearly a lifetime to master. You may have heard “Lying Eyes” so many times the meaning has long been forgotten. But to see the expression on Glenn’s face, to be reminded of how many times you have told yourself you were going to do something, or not do something…and then not followed through, it was like hearing it for the first time. In Don’s “Wasted Time” the regret was palpable, hopelessness and resignation embodied. Stirring my memory of now hard to find youthful passion, and then…hope. As punctuation, and the intro for the next song, they went right into the instrumental, “Wasted Time Reprise”…the effect was complete. Along a similar emotional road, Timothy singing “I Can’t Tell You Why” was powerful in its smooth subtlety. I am sure Mr. Schmidt’s silky delivery and native American good looks loosened more than a few longing sighs. (Thighs) And lest we get stuck in melancholy for too long, there’s Joe Walsh! “Rocky Mountain Way” is better than the way we had! The Salt Lake City heart of the Rocky Mountains crowd roared its understanding and approval. Joe can still belt it out and proved to be the crowd favorite. From old “James Gang” songs to newer “Eagles” songs, Joe rocked the Delta Center crowd, bringing everyone (that was in front of me) to their feet every time. His guitar playing was dead on, with the tone and toughness intact.
Thankfully the acoustic “Hell Freezes Over” version of “Hotel California” was missing in this show…we got the full anthem in all its vocal/electric guitar counterpoint glory. Joe and Steuart’s double guitar leads countering Don’s vocals was absolute magic. A song so entrenched in my psyche, it’s like air I breath. To hear it, and see it live was one of the high points of my concert going career. For my money, right up there with Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb, Springsteen’s Born to Run, or what it must have been like to see “Led Zeppelin” doing “Stairway to Heaven.”
One may think I go overboard in this review, that hyperbole is the word of the day. But it was a lopsided affair, a warm summer night, close enough to see them sweat seats, one of the best and biggest *American bands, singing songs about the attraction and aura of Southern California, and love songs that resonate as well now as the day they came out. Maybe not at the absolute peak of their performance powers, but delivering a warm powerful glow, like a fine and mellow wine, complex with character, and better with age.
* The Eagles greatest hits 1971-1975 with 26 million copies sold, is the biggest selling record of all time, more than any other record in history. The only other records to sell more than 20 million copies are: Thriller by Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin IV, The Wall by Pink Floyd, and Billy Joel’s Collection of Greatest Hits.