Some of country music’s biggest stars gathered at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House to see a once in a lifetime performance from rock legends the Eagles.
Just one year ago, fans of the beloved group believed that they would never take the stage again. After the unexpected death of founding member Glenn Frey, the surviving members admitted that they had no intentions of performing without him. But last night in Nashville, over 2,000 fans got to enjoy their incredible songbook one more time.
Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit were joined by Vince Gill and Glenn Frey’s 23-year-old son, Deacon. The invitation-only event was recorded for broadcast on SiriusXM’s “Hotel California,” a limited-run channel that will launch in November. It is one of only a handful of shows the group played this year, and marked their first time at the historic Opry House.
The band kicked things off with “Seven Bridges Road,” and their hard-hitting harmonies brought the audience to their feet. Although the Eagles will never quite be the same without Frey at the helm, Deacon and Vince’s voices blended in flawlessly. On the classic “Take It Easy,” it was easy to hear his father’s influence in every note of Deacon’s rendition.
On tracks like “Tequila Sunrise,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Lyin’ Eyes,” Gill’s immeasurable talents shined through. Mid-set, he addressed the crowd to explain his gratitude for the opportunity to play alongside “his heroes.”
“It’s been one of the great thrills of my life to receive this phone call this year to come in and sing some of these songs with these guys and keep these songs alive,” Gill told the crowd. “I must tell you, it’s very strange for me to hear anybody’s voice but Glenn’s sing these songs. But I’m doing my best, and having a great time.”
The 20-song set included many of the group’s biggest hits, along with three solo hits from Walsh. The impact of their incredible catalog was not lost on the stars in attendance, who shared their excitement while waiting backstage.
“This is as good as it gets. [They have the] greatest songs, the greatest harmonies… I’m a kid in a candy store,” Nashville star and country artist Charles Esten told Wide Open Country. “I was raised by a single mom who is here with me tonight, and when I think of our house, I honestly think of the Eagles albums that played ‘The Long Run,’ ‘Desperado,’ and all those songs that were pulsating through the house.”
No matter their age, each star had their own story of how the band’s incredible music had affected them, both as a fan and an artist.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned to the Eagles,” Frankie Ballard said. “It’s great music. Like great artwork of the past, it’s going to last forever.”
“Any group that has sung harmony has to admire the Eagles,” Duane Allen of the Oak Ridge Boys said. “They pick great songs, and the harmonies they put in their music are top level, all the way.”
“We enjoy songwriting and the craft of songwriting, and they are the top, as far as we’re concerned,” Matthew Ramsey, lead singer of Old Dominion, told Wide Open Country. “And they are badass musicians on top of that. They really are the ultimate band to look up to.”
All of the country stars in attendance took to their feet when the band ended their set with “Hotel California” and the emotional “Desperado.” Although their lineup has changed, the Eagles one again proved that they still have the magic that catapulted them to stardom 45 years ago.