The Eagles - Farewell I Tour: Live in
It seems like the Eagles
have had a farewell tour at least once a decade since they originally broke
up in 1982. I guess they'll keep on breaking up as long as we'll keep
coming back when they reconsider. And we'll keep coming back as long
as they have going away parties like this musical marathon recorded in
Australia in 2004.
Farewell I Tour: Live in
Melbourne has thirty songs spread over two DVDs, and nearly all of them
were classic hits. Not only do they do group songs, but there is also
a full contingent of solo singles by group members; four by drummer Don
Henley and five by guitarist Joe Walsh, including two songs from his earlier
band The James Gang. (The five count is assuming you include "In the
City" which was a Walsh solo single as the theme for the late 70s movie
The Warriors but was later showed up on the Eagles' 1979 album The Long
Fellow guitarist Glenn Frey sort of gets the short end of
the stick, only performing one of his several solo singles, but at least
"You Belong To the City" was as close to perfection as his side work got (though
I would have liked to get the gorgeous ballad "The One You Love," too, but I
guess that's getting a little greedy.) Only keyboardist Timothy B. Schmit is completely shut out of the solo sweepstakes, but that is more a
reflection on his career away from the Eagles than his stature in the group.
His biggest hits were the forgettable pop fluke "Boys Night Out" and a
lovely version of the Tymes' "So Much in Love" recorded for the soundtrack
to the film Fast Times At Ridgemont High, neither of which probably
had that many people clamoring to see live.
But the songs people are
really looking for are the band smashes and there are a ton of them here and
we all know them – every single word. (The Eagles have released two
of the ten best-selling albums ever: Their Greatest Hits and Hotel
California.) The band shifts dexterously from
country-rock weepers ("New Kid In Town," "Desperado" and "Tequila Sunrise"
all sound mighty fine here) to folksy riffs ("Peaceful Easy Feeling" and
"Already Gone"), beautiful MOR ballads ("Lyin' Eyes," "I Can't Tell You Why"
and the more recent "Love Will Keep Us Alive") and harder-edged stompers
("The Long Run," "One of These Nights," "Life's Been Good" and "Life in the
The band sounds wonderfully
tight for a band that plays together so sporadically (and, if rumors are to
be believed, has so much internal strife). There are four polished
professionals here that each bring different sounds and shades to the
group's palette. They are also engaging storytellers (I love it when
Glenn Frey dedicates "Lyin' Eyes" with "This is for my ex-wife, plaintiff.")
The band also has a crack backing band, including the brilliant former
Rosanne Cash guitarist Steuart Smith.
Sometimes the Eagles get
taken for granted as artists. They are still so ubiquitous on radio
that we don't think of digging out their old albums. They can become
musical wallpaper; songs you have heard so many times that you forget to pay
attention to them when they're on. That's a shame, because Farewell
I Tour makes a fine case for the Eagles being one of the great bands of
the rock era. This DVD should keep us going until the 2012 "Hell
Freezes Over Yet Again" reunion
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Posted July 3, 2005.