Eagles Live

Eagles

Asylum Records, 1980

http://www.eaglesband.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/27/1998

Back when The Eagles were touring in support of The Long Run in 1979 and 1980, many people didn't realize they were watching a band that was about to disappear for the better part of 15 years.

If there was indeed any tension between any of the band members, their two-disc swansong for that time, Eagles Live, doesn't seem to hint at it. And while some of the seemingly good-natured ribbing is lost without the visuals, this remains a pretty strong live effort.

Taped at shows in 1976 and 1980, Glenn Frey and crew showed their mastery of the material was not just a studio trick. Many of the songs performed here, with the exception of slight variations in the vocals, sound exactly like the tracks that we've been happily listening to for almost 30 years now. Kicking things off with "Hotel California," arguably their most popular song, is just the right touch to the festivities.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But in a sense, people should have sensed that something was up due to guest appearances by J.D. Souther, Joe Vitale, Phil Kenzie and others. This might not have been the humongous guest list that The Band had for The Last Waltz, but it wasn't just the same band of guys putting together the music anymore.

And while the inclusion of some solo material from Joe Walsh personally doesn't bother me, that also could have been a sign that members of the band were drifting their own separate ways. (Then again, maybe I'm being too cynical, and the appearance of a track like "Life's Been Good" is solely because people liked the damn song.)

If you've worn out copies of albums like Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, then Eagles Live can be seen as a surrogate to those albums. Many, though not all, of the hits are here, like "Take It Easy," "Heartache Tonight" and "Take It To The Limit". There are other surprises, such as the mostly a capella "Seven Bridges Road," which kind of reminded me of The Byrds when they went country. This track alone (which was featured on Greatest Hits Volume II) could be the undiscovered gem of The Eagles' career.

But even though the performances are almost note-for-note perfect, there is a touch of sterileness to the performances. This is where instances like Walsh ad-libbing some words to "Life's Been Good" comes in handy; it provides a break from hearing a "greatest hits live" album. If only there had been more moments like that.

Still, Eagles Live is an enjoyable album, and even could be a good starting point for the new Eagles fan. It's got a good portion of the hits, and enough material to help you understand where these guys came from musically. Plus, had it not been for the Hell Freezes Over reunion, this was the last chance to hear the band live again.

 

Rating: B+

User Rating: B


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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Asylum Records, and is used for informational purposes only.