BY TER STAFF
Chicago took it to the limit, as music fans in the Windy City enjoyed an evening with the Eagles on Wednesday night. Joined by openers, JD & The Straight Shot, as well as the band’s newest additions, Deacon Frey (son of the late Eagles’ co-founder, Glenn Frey) and country legend Vince Gill, Don Henley and company were poised to deliver an amazing night at the sold-out United Center.
Instantly fans were grateful to be in the building. For a moment, the world thought the days of seeing the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers live were over, after the passing of frontman Glenn Frey in 2016. Fellow co-founder, Don Henley, naturally doubted that the band would see the live stage again. But it wasn’t too long after, that the band found new life and a way to pay tribute to Frey. Not only did Henley, Walsh and Schmit add some star power with the addition of country music’s Vince Gill, but the band also helped fill the shoes of Frey by inviting his son, Deacon Frey, for a string of live performances in 2017. Both Gill and Frey have joined the rockers for their massive 2018 stint, adding a ton of excitement to the tour.
To get things started, the night kicked off with an opening performance from New York’s, JD & The Straight Shot. The Jim Dolan-led band, complemented by Marc Copely (vocals/guitar) and Byron House (bass), have opened for some big name performers, including the Eagles, ZZ Top, Keith Urban and more. Founded by Dolan, the Executive Chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company, JD & The Straight Shot is much more than passion project from someone with obvious connections in the industry. Rather, the band delivers a fun and addictive country blues performance to reward fans for getting to the arena early.
JD & The Straight Shot performed a number of tracks Wednesday night from their newest album, Good Night and Good Luck, including ‘Moonlight’, ‘Redemption Train’, ‘Ballad of Jacob Marley’ and more. While fans began to fill the arena, the crowd was treated to an entertaining performance to set the mood for the night ahead of them. In just the next few months alone, JD & The Straight Shot will support the Eagles, Chicago and The Doobie Brothers on their headlining tours, so fans across the country will have plenty of opportunities to get acquainted with Dolan and his band in 2018. And since Dolan was great friends with Glenn Frey, these next few dates with the Eagles will certainly be extra special.
Moments later, it was time for the Eagles to bless the stage in the house that Michael Jordan made famous. Kicking off night two of their 53-date tour, after opening things in Indianapolis on Monday, the band with a plethora of hit singles began their set with a cover, of Steve Young’s 1969 song, ‘Seven Bridges Road’. A track which the Eagles have performed for decades, ever since their Eagles Live album in 1980, ‘Seven Bridges Road’ was originally a pre-concert locker room warm up for the band, which is now a staple in the group’s setlist. While the track doesn’t have the notoriety that some of the Eagles’ original tracks have, it was a perfect opening track to warm up the band for the next two and a half hours.
Immediately the hits began to pour in, as the young Deacon Frey led the band with a performance of the classic record and first single from the Eagles’ 1972 self-titled debut, ‘Take It Easy’, a track which was recorded years before he was born. While the Eagles have been performing for 47-years (with an extended hiatus in the ’80s and ’90s of course), the youthful musician fit in perfectly. Glenn Frey’s oldest son still has room to grow, as he is still a stranger to such a big stage, but he is hitting the ground running with his new gig. The band then followed things up with more hits and fan favorites, including their records ‘One of These Nights’, from their fourth studio album, and ‘Take It To The Limit’, originally sung by former bass player, Randy Meisner, and now led by the 21-time Grammy winning Vince Gill.
The Eagles continued the momentum with their intoxicating track, ‘Tequila Sunrise’ (from Desperado) and ‘Witchy Woman (from their ’72 debut). Throughout the entire performance the band gave attention to their entire discography, while sprinkling in performances from some of Walsh and Gill’s solo work. The performance of Vince Gill’s ‘Next Big Thing’ especially fit well into the setlist.
And to cap things off on an already great night, the Eagles said goodbye to Chicago with a special encore performance that included ‘Desperado’ and their biggest record, ‘Hotel California’. The United Center was such a lovely place on Wednesday night.
While the night stood out due to the band’s new additions, of Frey and Gill, and the decades of hits that filled up 27 song setlist, what was most enjoyable was the teamwork the band displayed throughout the show. The Eagles have been through their share of drama, and hostility between members was prevalent for a number of years, yet tonight in their current form, the band was a well oiled machine where no one member shined at the expense of others. From Steuart Smith to Don Henley, everyone on stage last night delivered a great performance.
And if you missed last night’s memorable performance, fear not, as the Eagles are already set to return to the United Center on Monday, October 15th. Get your tickets here.
Photos by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
JD & The Straight Shot