Image by: SomeBizarreMonkey
Concert Reviews

Concert Review: New Eagles Lineup Keeps Musical Legacy Strong And Intact

Where: Spark Arena, Auckland NZ
When: 26 Feb 2019
Reuben Raj

The Eagles, led by founding member Don Henley, played their first of two sold-out shows at the Spark Arena in Auckland last night. Country music singer-songwriter Vince Gill and the son of late Glenn Frey, Deacon Frey joined Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit on stage for the two-hour-plus show.

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One Of These Nights in Auckland city with the Eagles

Imagine performing to an audience who knows the words, every chord, note and drum beat to every song. Well, the Eagles did that in a “peaceful and easy” way, thrilling thousands of New Zealand fans while keeping the memory of former bandmate Glenn Frey’s memory and legacy well and truly alive.

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Don Henley and Deacon Frey

The well known vocal harmonies of the Eagles started the show in a cover of Americana pioneer Steve Young’s Seven Bridges Road. Deacon Frey did not falter in his rendition of Take It Easy and Vince Gill’s Take It To The Limit and Tequila Sunrise showed the enamoured crowd how special the night was to become. Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit and particularly Don Henley warmly introduced young Deacon and Gill not just to fill “those shoes” but to carry on the musical legacy of the late Glenn Frey.

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Take It Easy sung by Deacon Frey

The last time this writer saw the Eagles was at the BOC Centre in Tulsa, Oklahoma during their History of the Eagles tour in 2013. Glenn Frey’s performance at that particular show was a clear highlight and I was certain many in the crowd were curious and eager to hear how Deacon would sound like compared to his late father. Dressed casually in black jeans and a short sleeve shirt over a tee with the face of UK soul and smooth jazz singer Sade Adu, Deacon Frey confidently sang with a deeper voice and an endearing manner that showed how much respect he had for his father’s body of work and the camaraderie he shared with fellow Eagles. His take on Peaceful Easy Feeling and Already Gone was incredibly touching.

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Take It To The Limit sung by Vince Gill

Vince Gill easily showed why he was the right choice to be an Eagle. In addition to the songs he started with, he effortlessly sang New Kid In Town, Heartache Tonight and a cover of Tom WaitsOl’ 55. But, it was his emotionally filled voice in Lyin’ Eyes, accompanied by the melancholy notes of a grand piano, that became one of the night’s special moments.

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Don Henley moved from drums and percussion to guitar and lead vocals throughout the show (while keeping an eye on the audience and their use of phones). The edgier and harder Those Shoes was performed on a stage covered in blood red lighting with Walsh using a talk box with his guitar. Life In The Fast Lane with the horn section was a blast and Hotel California with Henley singing from his drum kit was just pure and unadulterated rock and roll.

After seeing Def Leppard perform at the same venue some months ago, it was a welcoming change to see Eagles perform without any obvious use of backing tracks. Here was a band who wanted to be ‘present’ and ‘in the moment’ with the music. Unlike previously announced, the band was not joined by a string section. However, a vibrant horn section came up on stage at the latter part of the set.

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Timothy B. Schmit

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Timothy B. Schmit was and after last night, continues to be this writer’s favourite Eagle. His unassuming and humble nature commands respect and that voice! I Can’t Tell You Why (with Walsh on keyboards) and Love Will Keep Us Alive was extremely moving with couples in the audience holding hands and wrapped in each other’s memories.

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Joe Walsh

Much like Keith Richards, there is only one Joe Walsh! Dressed fashionably in a dark collarless jacket and leather pants, Walsh stayed through to his hard-rocking image as he teased the crowd with In The City and Walk Away. However, it was during Life’s Been Good and Funk #49 where Walsh truly rose to the occasion with his kooky personality, comical facial expressions and epic guitar licks and blazing solos.

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Steuart Smith

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Joe Walsh and Steuart Smith on guitars

Interestingly enough, there was another “eagle” on stage that added solos and flourishes on his guitar fretboard to compliment and often completing the Eagles sonic offering. Steuart Smith has been a touring member and one of the lead guitarists with the Eagles since 2001. His mastery of the guitar and dual solos alongside Walsh was incredible and contributed greatly to the flawless performance of the night.

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Forty plus years of music passed by too quickly in the two and a half hour show. It had to be accepted that certain classics would not make it onto the set list. Best Of My Love and none of the songs from Long Road Out Of Eden made it on stage. It would have been more icing on the cake to hear more songs from Don Henley and Glenn Frey’s solo albums but that’s a small price to pay for what will remain a memorable evening for many.

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The Eagles continue to show that their music remains relevant and priceless in rock music history.

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 Radio 13 thanks and credits Reuben Raj from SomeBizarreMonkey Photography for all the images featured on this article. 

Written By: Reuben Raj Reuben is a film and digital photographer who is driven by music in his head. Often seen lurking behind a camera inside the pit of a concert or wandering the streets of China with a blond, Reuben harbours intimate feelings for vinyl records and his Hasselblad SW/C from 1965. He is also the founder of Radio 13.

What people are saying

  • Jeannie - 2 years ago

    Great review and awesome pictures. Thanks
  • Jerome - 2 years ago

    Pictures show the band best side raw live
  • Becky Sivley - 2 years ago

    I wish Vince Gill was not included in the band. I just can't stand his voice. I have no real say in the matter but I just think you could have done better.
  • Norbert - 2 years ago

    Gréât job as always
  • Phil Holbrook - 2 years ago

    Really excellent photos. Some of the best recent ones I have seen.
    Twitter- @philholbrook1
  • Sara Sykes - 2 years ago

    Awesome concert, the power behind the music was incredible, one we will remember for a very long time.
  • Sue Trevatt - 2 years ago

    My son & his partner treated me to my Eagles tickets for my Xmas/ 72nd Birthday gift ( am 21 at heart!!), has been my dream to see The Eagles live as missed their last NZ visit and been a fan of their music forever! What a night, the concert was brilliant and I could remember every word of their songs and every beat of the music. I introduced my son to their music in the days of cassette tapes and it was wonderful to share the concert on Tuesday night with him and a friend. Unfortunately my son's partner had the flu so she couldn't get to the concert, but kindly gave her ticket to a friend of ours, also a big Eagle's fan. Nothing like music to keep you young!!
  • Radio 13 - 2 years ago

    Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments; especially Sue Trevatt who touched us all at Radio 13... you're the reason why we continue doing what we do to bring music and photographs for everybody xoxo
  • Rod Khoey - 24 months ago

    Nice one! - Rod / Auckland Camera Centre