The Eagles say goodbye (possibly) on the Discussion board

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By Calvin S. Nelson

“Good night,” Don Henley mentioned, “and welcome to no matter that is.”

Standing onstage Friday evening on the Kia Discussion board, his buttoned vest and slicked-back hair calling to thoughts an old-school apothecary, Henley was greeting a crowd of many hundreds to begin one more Eagles live performance on the storied Inglewood enviornment he described because the band’s “house subject.”

“We’ve been taking part in this joint for 49 years,” he continued, including that the Eagles’ present run on the Discussion board will deliver their all-time whole there to 26 dates in a profession that stretches again to the start of the Nineteen Seventies.

But as acquainted because the setting was, Friday’s present — the primary of 4 by means of Jan. 13 — carried a novel sense of event because it opened a hometown stand on what the group says can be its last tour.

Ought to we consider that declare? Rock historical past is suffering from farewell fake-outs by the likes of Cher and Kiss; even the Eagles have mentioned goodbye earlier than, together with in 2003, a few decade after they reunited, on a tour billed slyly as Farewell I. The title of this one is the Lengthy Goodbye, which past its ring of poetry nods to the likelihood that the band will maintain including dates, per an announcement, “as their viewers calls for.” (The tour, which launched in September, is anticipated to increase into 2025.)

Joe Walsh and Steuart Smith carry out on the Kia Discussion board.

(Michael Blackshire / Los Angeles Occasions)

That mentioned, Henley turned 76 final 12 months — the identical age as Elton John when he lastly wrapped his prolonged Farewell Yellow Brick Highway tour after raking in additional than $900 million on the highway. And certainly there was one thing of a valedictory air to Henley’s feedback on Friday about having been on “a hell of a experience” during the last half-century. Following Glenn Frey’s dying in 2016, he’s the one founding Eagle nonetheless taking part in within the band, which additionally consists of bassist Timothy B. Schmit and guitarist Joe Walsh (each members because the mid-’70s) and a pair of fill-ins for Frey within the nation star Vince Gill and Frey’s 30-year-old son Deacon, who wears his shades atop his head similar to his dad did.

Midway by means of the two-hour present, Gill sang the group’s nice white-soul ballad “Take It to the Restrict,” which was co-written and initially carried out by the Eagles’ first bassist, Randy Meisner, who died final 12 months; a bit later, Henley devoted a rendition of his solo hit “The Boys of Summer season” to a different casualty of 2023: “our pricey good friend Mr. Jimmy Buffett.”

Steely Dan opened the live performance with a sprightly set of jazz-wise pop that Donald Fagen, in seemingly wonderful fettle after a current hospital keep, capped with a shout-out to his late artistic accomplice, Walter Becker.

So what’s an Eagles gig suffused with finality sound like? Hardly decrepit. As within the band’s heyday, the music — crammed out by a crew of auxiliary gamers on numerous devices — was exactingly polished, whether or not a loping country-rock tune like “Take It Straightforward,” a silky gradual jam like “I Can’t Inform You Why” or a riffed-out rave-up like “Life within the Quick Lane.”

As a result of the Eagles’ songs contact so confidently on so many modes and kinds, they’ve at all times discovered a pure house on the radio, the place programmers have used them for many years like sonic mortar. And since the musicians play so exactly onstage — every strum in place, every groove good — the songs differed little from the variations completely saved in your head.

Henley’s vocals have been handsomely raspy if not fairly as soulful as within the days when David Geffen known as him Golden Throat; Gill and Deacon Frey summoned the craving in Glenn Frey’s singing but ignored the sneer that gave a tune like “Lyin’ Eyes” such emotional complexity. However even when a lead vocal got here up barely brief, the group’s trademark harmonies stored the music aloft.

The set contained hits and nothing however: “Witchy Lady” into “Peaceable Straightforward Feeling” into “Tequila Dawn” into “Within the Metropolis,” the final with room for Walsh to take each a slide-guitar solo and a wah-wah solo. A vital supply of rock ‘n’ roll mischief when he joined the band (and ever since), Walsh clowned his approach by means of his “Life’s Been Good” and obtained the place air-guitaring with “Funk #49” and “Rocky Mountain Method.” “Resort California” was lush and foreboding — a tune in regards to the terror of numbness (or the numbness of terror?) that’s gotten solely scarier with time.

The Eagles acknowledged the night’s particular circumstances with a shock look by J.D. Souther, whom Henley launched as a part of the “tightknit neighborhood of songwriters and singers” he and Frey would sometimes flip to within the ’70s “once we would get caught on a tune or we’d attempt to begin some new materials.” He added that the Eagles had 5 No. 1 hit singles — truly, he mentioned “solely” 5, which felt very on-brand — and that Souther had co-written three of them. Then they performed “Better of My Love” and “New Child in City,” each stunning and suspicious sufficient to make you by no means wish to go on one other date in your life.

Because the clock ticked previous 11, the present got here to an in depth with a candy, sleepy “Desperado” earlier than the band introduced Souther again out for a rollicking tackle the band’s last chart-topper, “Heartache Tonight.”

“Time to get up,” Henley advised the viewers — a boast, an encouragement, a dare.

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