Rick Imamoto - Irvine, California
In 1980, the Eagles were one of the most commercially successful rock bands in the industry, having some of the biggest selling albums of all time ("Their Greatest Hits, 1971 - 1975", "Hotel California") and seemingly, they were on top of the world. But beneath the surface, the seemingly endless nights on the road, filled with drugs, booze and women along with the persistent bickering and infighting between the all too perfectionistic musicians soon took its toll, as the Eagles each went their separate ways, with several of the members venturing into highly successful solo careers. They would never reunite, they vowed, until "Hell Freezes Over."
Which brings us to 1994, with Hell seemingly a bit more chilly than usual, and the vibes between the Eagles a whole lot warmer than they were in 1980. Cynics say money played a significant part in this reunion (tickets were selling for hundreds of dollars), but who can blame anyone for wanting to add a few million to their wallets while reuniting one of the biggest rock groups of the seventies. With the success of hits like "The Boys Of Summer," "The End Of The Innocence," "The Heat Is On," and "Life's Been Good," it's pretty obvious these guys don't need to the Eagles to make money.I walked into the summer air of Irvine Meadows to hear the haunting, mystical chords of "Hotel California," followed by the deafening roar of a crowd that had been waiting for this for over a decade. The Eagles hadn't missed a beat after a fourteen year hiatus, which they proved deftly as they made their way through songs from their classic album "Hotel California." On the closing track of "Hotel," a tune entitled, "The Last Resort," Don Henley referred to it as a tale describing "how the west was lost." Henley graced the crowd with his soulful, wistful vocals, as Glenn Frey entered midtune with a haunting piano solo, eminating into the Irvine air, stirring up images of soft summer raindrops falling down through the California sky, as Henley closed the song with the line,"you call someplace paradise...kiss it goodbye..."
In light of recent events in the Los Angeles area, it has become quite obvious that California is not the paradise it once was. But on this evening with the newly reunited Eagles, Hell was proving to be pretty cool.
They played on through the night, covering just about all of their major Eagles hit songs, as well as some of their solo work sprinkled in throughout the set. Timothy B. Schmit proved he still has the sweet voacls he used to take "I Can't Tell You Why" to the top of the charts. Don Felder and Joe Walsh traded some schintillating guitar licks, with Walsh adding some vocals on some of his trademark tunes, like "Rocky Mountain Way." Don Henley and Glenn Frey, without a doubt, the co-leaders of this band, were both evry relaxed and seemed be enjoying themselves immensely. The encore ended with Frey singing lead vocals on the Eagles first hit single, Take It Easy," and Henley followed that up with a stirring rendering of "Desperado."All in all, it was a cool night in Hell.