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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 1, 2005

Honolulu fans take it easy with the Eagles

Photo gallery

By Chad Pata
Special to The Advertiser

Don Henley, right, got behind the drums and thrilled fans with guitarist Glenn Frey and bassist Timothy B. Schmit at the Blaisdell Arena. The Eagles play again at the Blaisdell tomorrow and Saturday.

JEFF WIDENER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday

Blaisdell Arena

$65, $95, $150, $250, at the Blaisdell box office and Ticketmaster locations

(877) 750-4400 or www.ticketmaster.com

Also: The Eagles perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the A&B Amphitheater, Maui Arts & Cultural Center; food and beverage service from 5:30 p.m.; $75, $95, $150, $250, at the box office; (808) 242-7469, www.mauiarts.org

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The Eagles in concert provide the opportunity to see one of the quintessential rock bands of a generation.

What other band could you go to see and know every song in its three-hour set without ever owning any of the group's albums?

Now the critics do have a right to judge, and the band is pure formula.

If improvisational jam sessions are your bag, you would have been bored. But for those whose youth is soundtracked by the Eagles, the band lives up to the Joe Walsh line "Everybody's so different; I haven't changed."

The fans Tuesday night mostly matched the band: lots of baby boomers with bad ponytails and concert attire that had not seen the light of day in years. Also like the band, the audience started pretty sedate. No one even stood up when the guys took the stage, preferring to clap and whistle politely from their seats at the Blaisdell Arena.

Starting out with their more mellow tracks like "Witchy Woman" and "One of These Nights," the Eagles helped the crowd stretch out before hitting them with the heavy artillery.

Onstage, the band is backed by two keyboardists, four horn players, a percussionist and the amazing Steuart Smith on guitar.

Why a fourth guitarist is needed isn't readily apparent to an outside observer, but a welcome addition Smith was, as Walsh let him do the heavy lifting.

In fact, it wasn't until two hours in that Walsh truly took back the lead guitar, during "Walk Away," which finally brought the crowd to its feet.

That is one of the notable things about the Eagles live: With all the talent the other three possess, what truly turns the crowd on is Walsh.

He's the comic of the bunch. Vocally, he can't hold a candle to Don Henley and Glenn Frey, and yet when he started stumbling through his solo hit "Life's Been Good," the audience just screamed along and forgave him when he missed entire lines of the song.

"I've been here before, but I don't remember it," said Walsh, who donned a helmet cam to film the audience. "Maybe I'll remember this time, or maybe not."

The rest of the band, however, could not have been more staid. Bassist Timothy B. Schmit's voice during "I Can't Tell You Why" was as mournful as it was beautiful.

It took a bit of humor from Frey to bring the crowd out of the daze Schmit put them in.

"I'd like to dedicate this next song to my first wife, Plaintiff," said Frey before launching into "Lyin' Eyes."

Frey is the only one who did seem to be showing his age. During "New Kid In Town" he would back away from the mic rather than lean in on the high notes during the chorus.

He 'fessed up to it though, telling the crowd those "were the highest notes" that he could hit in his natural voice, "30 years ago."

That aside, the Eagles' harmonies sounded as pure and clean as they did when they got together in the early 1970s. And for this nostalgic evening, at $250 a pop, the audience directly disobeyed Henley's admonition in "The Boys of Summer," where he preaches, "Don't look back, you can never look back."

With the Eagles crooning to them for a night, looking back was in the cards for the Honolulu fans, and they seemed to like what they saw.