Gig Review: EAGLES UK Tour 2019 – Manchester Arena

The Eagles UK Tour 2019

Effortlessly delivering spine-tingling vocal harmonies and killer guitar solos, the Eagles may be nearing their 50th anniversary but this legendary band hasn’t lost any of their edge

4 out of 5 stars

Like many music fans, I have a bucket list of acts I’d like to see before I die – the Eagles being one of them. But when founding member Glenn Frey sadly passed away in early 2016, I thought I’d missed my chance. Many believed that the group were set to pack it in for good until a chance performance in 2017 – to honour the legacy of their late bandmate – lead to rave reviews and the decision to resume full-scale touring once again.

Formed in 1971, the Eagles are one of the world’s best-selling rock bands of all time. Over the past five decades, the band has sold more than 100 million albums, with five number-one singles, six number-one albums, six Grammy Awards and five American Music Awards to their name.

The new tour sees American country singer Vince Gill and Glenn Frey’s son, Deacon join long-time members Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit on stage for a two and a half hour marathon of hits including HOTEL CALIFORNIA, NEW KID IN TOWN, LYIN’ EYES and BEST OF MY LOVE – all number-one hits for the legendary group.

Opening with a cover of Steve Young’s SEVEN BRIDGES ROAD, it quickly becomes clear that this isn’t going to be your standard run-of-the-mill rock show. Standing under single spotlights on a darkened stage, the Eagles are quick to demonstrate that they haven’t lost any of their edge as they effortlessly switch between vocalists to deliver spine-tingling vocal harmonies and killer guitar solos.

Quick to address the elephant in the room, Henley warmly introduces Deacon, Glenn Frey’s son, who together with Vince Gill, share the lead vocals for Frey’s songs. Casually dressed in black jeans and a short sleeve T-shirt, Frey sounds very much like his father as he steps up to the mic for TAKE IT EASY, proving himself more than capable of filling those “big shoes” as he carries on his father’s musical legacy.

Similarly, Gill proves a valuable addition to the band, performing a pitch-perfect rendition of TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT and TEQUILA SUNRISE, both bringing their own magic to the set.

As expected, the hits come thick and fast, Don Henley taking the mic for ONE OF THESE NIGHTS, LIFE IN THE FAST LANE and a superb performance of WITCHY WOMAN, a brass section joining the group on stage to give the track an extra edge.

Frey’s version of PEACEFUL EASY FEELING also stands out as a highlight, the track finishing with a picture of his father displayed on the big screen, leaving not a dry eye in the house.

A few solo tracks are thrown into the mix, with Joe Walsh taking centre stage for LIFE’S BEEN GOOD and ROCKY MOUNTAIN WAY, the rocker truly rising to the occasion with his raspy vocals, comical facial expressions and blazing guitar solos. Don Henley’s THE BOYS OF SUMMER also goes down a treat, its dream-like vibe still sounding as great as it did in 1984.

The first of three encore sees the group return for an extended version of HOTEL CALIFORNIA, a jaw-dropping Spanish style trumpet solo introduction making this legendary track sound even better. DESPERADO follows soon after with my favourite track – BEST OF MY LOVE – providing a fitting finale to a wonderful evening.

The Eagles may be edging closer to their 50th anniversary but if this two and a half hour show is anything to go by, there’s plenty of life left in this band yet.

EAGLES played at Manchester Arena on 26 June and tour nationally until 6 July.