The Eagles gave a concert and hosted a voyage on Saturday night on the Strip.
“This is a three-hour vacation from the real world,” founding member Don Henley told the packed crowd at MGM Grand Garden. He later added that the band was celebrating the 50th anniversary of being on the radio with “Take it Easy.”
“It was a fast 50,” Henley said. “Thank you for supporting us on this journey.”
Guitarist Joe Walsh was steering his own time machine.
“I had a hell of a lot more fun when I was in my 20s in the ’70s, then I do when I’m in my 70s in the ’20s,” Walsh said. The crowd cheered that, too. They got it. Most of those who crammed into the Grand Garden, creating a sea of silver hair, could identify.
The band performed “Hotel California” in its entirety, then broke for a few minutes (for the inevitable restroom break, as Henley called out), then finished with a stream of hits to fill that three-hour performance. The band had started this road trip at MGM Grand Garden Sept. 27-28 and Oct. 5, 2019. Bassist Timothy B. Schmit called the arena the band’s Las Vegas home, as it has headlined Grand Garden several time over the years, from their reunion in 1994 through 2016 with the late Glenn Frey.
Country-rock great Vince Gill has since replaced Frey onstage. The band again played flawless renditions of the full “Hotel California” album, released in 1976. The album has since sold 32 million copies (26-times platinum). The hits dropped on the crowd like a springtime rainshower. The sing-alongs were led by the title song, “New Kid In Town,” “Life in The Fast Lane” the singles from the album.
Post-intermission, it was “One Of These Nights,” “Take It To The Limit,” and “Heartache Tonight.” Walsh had a turn with “Life’s Been Good.” It’s a joy to watch Gill grinning over at the guitarist as he growls through the lyrics, “My Maserati goes 185. I lost my license, now I don’t drive.” Henley’s brilliant “Boys of Summer” slid into the night’s mellow culmination, “Best Of My Love.”
The four primary members bowed it out, with Walsh tailing the group and giving a final wave. It might be the last Vegas show for this band for the ages. But we thought that last time, and even back to ‘94. But we are sure that by every measurable means, they do not make ‘em like the Eagles anymore.
Give it to the locals
The Eagles could well track a 22-person choir and 39-member string section. But no. The band hired Vegas artists to back select numbers on Friday night. Lady Gaga and Michael Buble have also recently filled full orchestras largely with Vegas musicians, and Buble also added singers.
Those Las Vegas entertainers who co-starred with the Eagles deserve a nod, and also some intense bold-faced action, here:
Michelle Johnson’s Desert Angels sang on “The Last Resort.” Those Las Vegas singers were Johnson, Cynthia Abney, Kathryn Arianoff, Danyel Arianna, Ryan Baker, Avana Christie, Lannie Counts, Fred Crescente, Eileen Deadwiler, Viqtory Destined, Aretha Harden, Robert Hyatt, Patty Janura, Amanda Kaiser, Jen Mrozik, Christopher Lash, Naomi Mauro, Caleb McKee, Karen Michaels, Jennifer Mrozik, Carol Pritchard, Ethena Profit. Hector Ramos and Robin Vincent.
And from the Sin City Strings (“I don’t name ‘em, I just read what’s on the teleprompter,” Henley said). we had:
Violins: Alexandria Pritchard, Ferenc Cseszko, Nataliya Karachentseva, James Harvey, Christina Levi, De Ann Letourneau, Susan Kim, Geri Thompson Adriana Thurber-Shaw, Chandra Meibalane, Peter Goomroyan, Shakeh Ghoukasian, Kevork Mikaelian, Melanie Schiemer and Erika Syroid.
Violas: Tianna Harjo, John Pollock, Dmitri Kourka, Carlene San Filipo, Omar Shelly, Taras Krysa, Ivie Etkins-Turner, Yunior Lopez, Crystal Yuan andHope Bowden
Cellos: Lindsay Springer, Moonlight Tran, Mandy Andreasen, Elena Kapustina, Mert Sermet, Mariko Muranaka, Jeremy Russo, Ted Hartwell and Andy Smith.
Double Bass: Ryan Dudder, Paul Firak, Chris Davis and Josh Jones.
“It was surreal,” Johnson said after the show. “It was incredible to be singing along with songs you have listened to your whole life.” Springer, who has performed with Celine Dion among a host of other superstars, called it, “The show of a lifetime!” Can’t argue that.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.