The Eagles once again prove that they are in it for “The Long Run” as they treat Lexington fans to an epic night of classic songs.
Anyone who has reached adulthood in the last 40 plus years knows at least a few songs by The Eagles. It was near impossible to turn on a radio from the 70’s through the 90’s without hearing The Eagles. While the lineup evolved and changed over time, founding members Glen Frey and Don Henley remained a constant through all of the breakups and reunions over the years. Frey’s tragic passing in 2016 put the band’s future in doubt. The decision to bring Glen Frey’s son, Deacon onboard as well as Country music singer/songwriter Vince Gill seemed like the perfect solution.
When the band takes the stage at Rupp Arena and The Eagles open their set with “Seven Bridges Road” everyone in attendance is immediately reminded of what makes The Eagles one of the most enduring bands of all time. The vocal arrangements are in a class all their own, the songs are timeless and the musicianship is unparalleled. With no less than 10 musicians on stage, as well as a horn section on select songs, The Eagles take what began as a soft rock/country rock band to another stratosphere. Making up the front line along the front of the stage, are Vince Gill, Don Henley, Timothy B Schmidt perched on a stool throughout the night, Deacon Frey, with Joe Walsh and Steuart Smith sharing lead guitar responsibilities. Each one brings something important to the show and their strengths complement each other perfectly.
After Deacon Frey takes the vocal duties for his father’s classic song, “Take it Easy”, an affable Don Henley comes from behind his drum kit to tell the crowd to “Forget about the news and the weather. It will be there when you get up tomorrow” because, with close to 50 years of history behind them, they are going to play for 2.5 hours “because we can.” He adds that although Glen Frey isn’t here tonight, “He is with us in the music” while introducing “this good old boy”, Vince Gill who takes the lead on Glen Frey’s “Take it to the Limit” and “Tequila Sunrise”. Both Deacon Frey and Vince Gill are a perfect fit to fill such big shoes. Everyone in the arena feels Glen Frey’s presence in these well-loved classics, notably when his son sings “Peaceful Easy Feeling” with a photo of his father on the screen behind him.
After Don Henley asks several times “What’s the dang deal with Timothy’s foot”, Timothy B Schmitt explains he had an “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” moment in the shower, resulting in a compression boot and crutches limiting him to sitting on a stool while he sings “I Can’t Tell You Why” from The Long Run album and “Love Will Keep Us Alive” from the hugely successful Hell Freezes Over reunion album. He may struggle a bit to hit the high notes, but the sweetness in his voice remains. Joe Walsh supplies the rock n roll edge with his blistering guitar work on “Witchy Woman”, making full use of the talk box for some added funkiness. He is also in prime form for several songs from his days with the James Gang, namely “Funk 49” and “Walk Away” as well as the hugely popular “Life’s Been Good” from his solo work.
“Already Gone”, “Heartache Tonight” “Life is the Fast Lane” all have everyone clapping along and dancing in the aisles. The party is going strong in Lexington. “Rocky Mountain Way” is electrifying between Joe Walsh’s talk box funk and Steuart Smith’s guitar, not to mention the horn section blowing loud and hard. The sound on this song is huge and gets everyone jumping up and down and rocking along. “Hotel California” begins with a trumpet solo. What an incredible addition to an iconic song! The final song of the night is appropriately the most significant in this band’s career. Don Henley stands at the mic at center stage for “Desperado”, accompanied by piano, violins and eventually the other 5 members to finish the show as it began, with the 6 members forming a front line of sorts, voices perfectly blended to the very end of a show that went by in the blink of an eye. This is a performance that showcased some of the best songs of the last almost 50 years, performed by one of the greatest bands of our time.