June 7, 2009
English translation: Concert at the O2 World
The Eagles are proving their perfection
In front of an audience of 11,000 the legendary Eagles offered the perfect show - rehearsed in an exact way like a Broadway Show, however without room for coincidence or spontaneity. Except for the hello and the band intro the band remained demonstratively taciturn. And even brutal guitar eruptions were studied.
The perfectionism reflecting from the stage is as uncanny as respect inspiring. This is where a legend is celebrating. Here four columns of seventies rock music are stretching high up to the pop Olympus. Here musical history is re-told in an impressing way and enhanced by technical entertainment features of modern times. The Californian Eagles have landed at the O2 World filled with an audience of 11,000 on Sunday night. And once more they're playing all the hits that had an impact on an entire era.
The four eagles in front are in best condition, even if only during the second part of the night they offer more than routine handcraft. The guys in their early sixties have great voices and know how to work around possible difficulties at high rage. Guitarist Glenn Frey, drummer and guitarist Don Henley, guitarist Joe Walsh and bassist Timothy B. Schmit take turns with lead vocals with almost democratic correctness while the others contribute the typical Eagles choir voices. The more than three concert hours concert is rehearsed like a Broadway Show where there's no space for coincidence or spontaneity.
A few minutes past eight the Eagles and their backup musicians, among those a four piece horn section, an additional drummer as well as an additional guitarist, the very skilled Steuart Smith, hit the lime light and at once open with three songs from their current album "Long Road Out of Eden", which already was released in 2007. The applause however for "How Long", " I Don’t Wanna Hear Anymore" and "Guilty of the Crime" seems rather polite. The Eagles seems to have expected this and place their biggest hit "Hotel California" on position four of the evening's set list. And from that point the venue is cooking, anyway if it's old songs or new songs. Whereas the new songs are so much crafted in the way of the old patterns that they fit seamlessly into the excellently leveled sound.
The Eagles have polarized. For one through their lived out perfectionism, for one because they have simply been misunderstood. Their sometimes society-critical and politically engaged lyrics drowned in the sweet arrangements made out of country folk and rock elements and even a song like "Hotel California" that was aimed at the shallowness of the American Way Of Life was misinterpreted as a hymn on Californian easiness. So on "Long Road Out of Eden" the environmental activists of the successful Eagles business are getting a bit more explicit, however of course without pointing the "Bono finger".
Except for a hello from Glenn Frey ("Hello Berlin, we are the Eagles, we are the ancient ones, the band that wouldn’t die") and later the introduction of the musicians the show remains rather taciturn. Only the music is speaking here. And the workload is immense. First in black suits, white shirts and ties the Eagles bosses are presenting their product, that blossomed during hippie times, in a stiff way. Most of all hooligan Joe Walsh looks more than misplaced in that manager outfit. But this fortunately changes after the intermission to which the audience is sent with "The Long Run".
There's a lot of new stuff to listen to. There's no more space for one or the other song people would've liked to hear. For example "New Kid In Town". But then there are Don Henley's "Boys of Summer" as well as Joe Walsh's classic "Life's Been Good", then there's "Take it to the Limit", "Heartache Tonight" and "Life in the Fast Lane" which is the furious final before the encores. The songs are illustrated by video clips and graphic gimmicks on the gigantic half round backdrop screen, sometimes people are hurrying through New York, then a Chevy is going down a desert highway, also pictures of the world's poverty, famish and war are included.
Everything is correct and polished like a glitzy street cruiser. Only Joe Walsh is allowed to step a bit aside with brutal guitar eruptions, however also this is rehearsed and planned for. This evening with the Eagles sure means elegance and greatness. It shows how a band of aged musicians knows how to merchandise their work with dignity and sense of business. The memory of the youth's revolution is woven into the long lasting applause. With the light hearted "Take It Easy", the brutal Walsh blues "Rocky Mountain Way" and the contemplative rock outlaw ballad "Desperado" the history book is closed long after 11 pm. Respect. (thanks, Ulli)
What’s the best vacation you can get? Right, an Eagles’ vacation. Nothing better than spending a few days in one of your favorite cities with an Eagles show as the icing on the cake!
Berlin is a great city! You get the whole package here. History, parks, museums, zoo, shops good food, friendly people, easy travelling (U and S Bahn) and above all……the modern O2 Arena, close to Ostbahnhof. We went there early, it was around 4 pm that we got there, only a few people walking around the venue, doors were still closed. So we went back to Ostbahnhof for a beer and a curry Wurst (don’t leave Germany before you tried this culinary highlight!) and already noticed quite a few people in Eagles shirts. Lots of dutchies too (jeez, they’re everywhere!).
6 pm the doors opened, time for another beer, a loo break and more Wurst for Ton and an hour later we walked to our seats, row 7, left section, aisle side. Just perfect!
They started exactly at 8.04 pm, Glenn spoke his famous words (see the article in the Morgenpost) to say hi and How Long already got many people up on their feet. Many people tried to walk up front but were friendly directed back to their seats. After the break two young security ladies were ordered to sit in the aisle to stop people from doing that. They had a hard time.
Timothy and Joe sounded great. I was so glad to hear that Tim had totally recovered from his accident. Last year in Rotterdam he had such a hard time hitting the notes right but this time he sounded better than ever. And so did Don! Wow, what more can I say?
Glenn, on the other hand, needed some warming up time, he was really struggling on the high notes. Take It Easy, at the end, sounded great though. But on every other song he often stepped back from the microphone during the higher parts and let the others take over.
So, as I’ve already told you, Don sounded great. Too bad that during the first part the sound guys screwed up on Don, he was much too loud. After the break they did fine again.
Joe got the crowd wild, of course. His usual funny jokes worked and he got the crowd where he wanted them, up on their feet, waving at the cam, singing along etc.
When Tim introduced Glenn we got the intro of My Girl, somehow Tim and Glenn thought that was very funny, it cracked them up. And us too!
What else can I tell you that hasn’t been told before? Ah, yes, Glenn still can’t pronounce “Groningen”. That’s where Chris Mostert was born, a town in the northern part of the Netherlands. Glenn makes it sound like Grungenen. Oh well, not really important.
Long Road Out Of Eden got a great response. Many people knew the song and kept standing while Don was singing, at the end clapping along, wonderful! Gave me goosebumps.
All in all this Berlin show was one of the best I attended so far. When the crowd is good, the band is at it’s best, and that was certainly the case. End was at exactly 11.10 pm, both Glenn and Joe sticking out their tongues after their last guitar chord, as if they wanted to say, thank god, finally, it’s over for tonight!
Next show for me is next week Thursday, Antwerp, with my sister in law and Wilma, we’re lucky girls, guess where we’ll be sitting?
How Long-I Don’t Want To Hear any More-Guilty Of The Crime-Hotel California-Peaceful Easy Felling-I Can’t Tell You Why-Witchy Woman-Lyin’Eyes-Boys Of Summer-In The City-The Long Run-break-No More Walks In The Woods-Waiting In The Weeds-No More Cloudy Days-Love Will Keep Us alive-Take It To The Limit-Long Road Out Of Eden-Walk Away-One Of These Nights-Life’s Been Good-Dirty Laundry-Funk49-Heartache Tonight-Life In The Fast Lane. Encore: Take It Easy-Rocky Mountain Way-Desperado