The Eagles returned to Buffalo after four years as they continue to bring the entire Hotel California album to fans across the country. After several stops in the past, this was my first chance to catch the band live and I’m so glad I did.
Interestingly, just as I was approaching the age to go and see concerts live (14 years old and finishing up Junior High), I remember the Eagles big comeback tour in 1994. As I mentioned above, I didn’t get to see them back then, but it stands out as one of the big shows that summer to go see. Fast-forward to almost thirty years later and I’m finally getting a chance to see what one of the greatest American bands in history is all about.
As we were escorted out to the soundboard to our designated spot to photograph, it was apparent that the packed arena was gathered for something special. The crowd was mostly older than I, with a few people bringing their kids or grandkids along for the show. Most, however, had clearly grown up with the Eagles music and probably had the ‘Hotel California’ album on heavy rotation throughout the years. I’ve got a number of classic albums in my collection that mean this much to me, so I could definitely appreciate what was about to take place.
The show began just after 8:10pm, with a darkened stage. The first glimpse of the coming performance was the blue neon “Hotel California” sign that sprang to life on the left-hand side of the stage. Just below it, an old man walked out in a dark robe, where he removed a vinyl copy of the ‘Hotel California’ album, placed it on an old record player and the stage briefly faded to black once again as the sign adorning the albums classic title logo was raised to the top of the stage.
Moments later, the opening (title) track began as the stage lit up with the band spread out, covering the entire stage. To begin the show, Don Henley took his usual spot behind the drum kit. During the third song, “Lift in the Fast Lane,” is when Henley first came front and center on stage as the massive stage lit up with giant video screens and animation to go with the song.
Following the performance of the ‘Hotel California’ album, Henley informed the audience of a brief intermission, to be followed by all the Eagles greatest hits. He wasn’t kidding, either. They returned to the stage after about 20 minutes and dove into an addition set of nineteen more songs, rounding out the evening with a total of twenty-eight songs in total, closing in at just under three hours.
It’s worth noting that while the Eagles of today hardly resembles the band that began back in 1971, the majority of the core band are all long-time members. Of course, Don Henley is a founding member. However, they have Joe Walsh on lead and rhythm guitar, who joined in 1975. Timothy B Schmit on bass guitar, who joined back in 1977. The most recent being Vince Gill on rhythm and lead guitars, who joined back in 2017 following the death of Glenn Frey.
Throughout the greatest hits set, the band did a fantastic job of covering all the bases with songs like “Take It Easy,” “Take It to the Limit,” “Tequila Sunrise” and “Lyin’ Eyes” as well as weaving in some solo hits from Walsh and Henley like “In the City,” “Rocky Mountain Way” and “The Boys of Summer.”
It’s always easy to look at a legendary band like the Eagles and brush off a modern tour if you’ve seen them before, or if you think the band is well past their prime. I suppose that’s all fine and well, but it’s my belief that bands like this just don’t come around much anymore. Maybe we’ll all get another shot to see the Eagles before they’re done, but maybe we won’t. For anyone that grew up with this band, and especially those that hold a special place for the ‘Hotel California’ album, this was a tour not to be missed. I’m really glad I went. I only wish I’d have taken advantage of one of the several opportunities over the years to catch them a bit sooner, too.