I’m not normally one for going to see tribute bands – the last one I saw was The Australian Pink Floyd last year (see my review on this Blog #6 ) – yet I’ve only ever heard good reports of the Eagles tribute band The Illegal Eagles; and as I found myself in the fair City Of Lincoln on this night, I thought I’d take the opportunity to go and see them for myself, as they were booked for the Theatre Royal there. I’m not likely to see the original Eagles, but I’ve liked their music since their 70s heyday, so this had to be the next best thing. I was lucky enough to get tickets at short notice as most seats were taken by the time I got there. I’d already seen one gig earlier that day (see my previous Blog #48), so I was in a musical mood – but then, when am I not?
After an introduction from Master Of Ceremonies John Marshall of Lincs FM, we heard a little of ‘Journey Of The Sorcerer’ over the PA system before the check-shirt clad band emerged to great applause and immediately began the first half of their set, with ‘Take It Easy’. It was a very fine cover of a classic Eagles song, and set the tone for the whole show. Without a word the next song was upon us: ‘Midnight Flyer’. Illegal Eagles they may be, but these particular birds of prey were in full flight – accurately covering the numerous hits of their heroes: ‘Tequila Sunrise’; ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’; and ‘New Kid In Town’.
‘Heart Of The Matter’ followed. I was quite amazed at the seemingly chaotic movement on stage half way through this two-part song, as the two roadies who’d been busy swapping guitars etc for the band members throughout the earlier part of the set, came on stage again and within a few seconds of almost choreographed movements, everyone seemed to be in a different position with a different instrument. The whole process went so smoothly! Then the roadies disappeared as quickly as they’d come; the song having continued without a discernible break. Impressive!
A little Rock’n’Roll followed – ‘Get Over It’ had the place rockin’. And there was no let up as the distinctive bass intro to ‘One Of These Nights’ let us know that there was plenty more to come; and ‘Witchy Woman’ was next – another fine rendition. Things slowed down a lot then; with the heart-felt ‘Wasted Time’. Then it was back to R’n’R for the final number of the first half; the rousing ‘James Dean’.
The band went off then for a well-earned break; during which we heard some great old songs over the PA, including the wonderful ‘Amanda’ by Boston; and the brilliant ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ by Firefall. I haven’t heard this one for ages. (If you don’t know Firefall, but love the Eagles, then you’ll like them too!)
Back for the second half, the lads returned (having changed out of their check-shirts!) and continued with the beautiful ‘The Last Resort (Paradise)’. The wonderful little instrumental ‘I Dreamed There Was No War’ was then performed perfectly. Surprisingly then, the amps and PA were turned off and the whole band sang and played one number acoustically at the front of the stage. The old favourite ‘Lyin’ Eyes’ followed – with enthusiastic audience participation, of course. They gave us ‘Take It To The Limit’ next – which the band refer to as the ‘…credit card song’. Again, the audience were as much part of the song as the band. And the hits kept coming: ‘Desperado’ followed; and was brilliantly sung.
Nor were the band limited to purely Eagles songs. Three of the ex-members’ solo numbers were also played: Glenn Frey‘s 80s hit ‘The Heat Is On’; Don Henley‘s iconic ‘The Boys Of Summer’; and Joe Walsh’s ubiquitous rocker ‘Rocky Mountain Way’. I think the whole place was on its feet by then. We were promised one more. ‘Heartache Tonight’ had the crowd singing and clapping along again. Of course there would be encore; and of course it would be the greatest of all Eagles numbers – ‘Hotel California’. It was played and sung with amazing precision; and the band left the stage to rapturous applause.
At all times the band were accurate in their covers – both musically and vocally the whole show was as near to the real Eagles as you are likely to hear anywhere. I was also impressed by the way that most band members showed themselves to be multi-instrumentalists – swapping one instrument for another with ease. I think it was only the excellent bassist that stayed with his instrument throughout.
Pretty much the whole Eagles back catalogue of hits was covered. The only one I could think of that they never played was ‘Life In The Fast Lane’. Nor were they able to do the more progressive album tracks that The Eagles are also known for, such as ‘Long Road Out Of Eden’. But set time is limited; and they can’t play everything.
My thanks to the band and their roadies; and to the Theatre’s staff for a great evening. PTMQ