Eagles at Target Center, 9/18/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Tony Nelson
The Eagles
Target Center, Minneapolis
Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Unpopular opinion alert: The Eagles are goddamn good. It's like these guys emerged from the womb fully equipped to be singing six-voice harmonies and blending guitar lines around the same time they started walking. And until you see them play live for three hours, it's also easy to forget just how many great songs they wrote.

See Also: Slideshow: The Eagles at Target Center, 9/18/13

Of course, that's one of the blessings and curses of the Eagles. They have hits from now till tomorrow, but do you really want to hear them? For many, the answer is no. After all, why would you ever want to intentionally listen to the Eagles when you can walk into your nearest shopping mall and hear "Hotel California" playing softly over the PA system? But for that reason, seeing Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and the rest of the boys live can be a palette-cleansing experience for those who on one level want to act out violently when they hear another goddamn Eagles song, but on another enjoy well-crafted tunes written and performed by amazingly talented musicians.

Photos by Tony Nelson
Taking in last night's Target Center show with ears and eyes as unencumbered with the past as possible, there was only one conclusion to be reached: It was a great show. Unlike many of their contemporaries, the Eagles are still alive (literally) and can still play and play well. Furthermore, it's as if the tunes they wrote in the 1970s were written with an eye toward how they'd sound in the 2010s. Even vaguely sexual lyrics -- for example, "Everybody wants to touch somebody before the night is through" from "Heartache Tonight" -- have aged well in light of their ambiguity (and, in the case mentioned, in light of Daft Punk).

As you'd expect, last night, the Eagles rolled through their hits. With the exception of one song from 1994's "Hell Freezes Over," none of their newer material was played. Their show on this tour is tied in with Showtime's History of the Eagles documentary, and the early acoustic numbers were interspliced with documentary clips detailing how songs were written and when various members joined the band. But as the the electric instruments emerged along with the full band, the video clips became fewer and further between and the songs were left to do the talking. And that's good, because the Eagles' tunes can carry a live show all on their own.

For this tour, guitarist, founding member, Minneapolis native, and Hank-from-Breaking Bad look-alike Bernie Leadon is back with the group, which, as always, is led by Don Henley and Glenn Frey. Timothy B. Schmit contributes bass and vocals, with Joe Walsh kicking in lead guitar, vocals, and lots of personality. In fact, the second set of the show -- which proceeded roughly chronologically from the Eagles' early country-flavored stuff to the guitar-driven material of the later albums -- sort of felt like "Joe Walsh and the Eagles," as it featured the Walsh tunes "In the City," "Life's Been Good," "Funk 49," and "Rocky Mountain Way."

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