The Eagles Wow South Florida, Possibly for the Last Time
By Skip Sheffield
The Eagles love Miami… at least they did on July 10, 2015 at American Airlines Arena, where they continued their “History of the Eagles” tour. The group made mention that Miami loomed large in their history, as they recorded at the famed Criteria Studios in 1975 and Bayshore Studios in 1978.
The Eagles’ history dates back to Los Angeles in 1971, when studio musicians Glenn Freyand Don Henley, who were in Linda Ronstadt’s band, and Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner got together as a kind of supergroup of singers and musicians. Founding members Frey, guitar and Henley, drums and guitar, played the Miami concert with newer members Timothy B. Schmit on bass and Joe Walsh on guitar. Much to the delight of Florida fans, founding guitar, banjo and mandolin player Bernie Leadon paid a guest appearance. Leadon left the group in 1975, when the band moved more toward rock ‘n’ roll from their original country roots, but he has always remained a friend.
The concert began with the two main guys, Glen Frey and Don Henley sitting down for an acoustic set and playing “Desperado.” The duo got the first of many standing ovations for that wistful ballad about a man who "ain't gettin' any younger." Leadon, who now lives in Gainesville, Florida, then joined in, followed by Timothy B. Schmit, who replaced founding bassist Randy Meisner in 1975. Schmidt is the singer who put the sky-high notes in the group’s harmonies. Frey mentioned Meisner, who sang lead on the group’s first gold record, “Take It To the Limit.” “I hope he’s OK” said Frey of Meisner, who has been facing some personal challenges. Finally out came guitarist Joe Walsh, who was already famous for his own hard rock trio, The James Gang, when he signed on in late 1975. Henley moved from guitar to his drum kit. The only “persona non grata” was Don Felder, whom Walsh replaced. Witty Walsh has always been the life of the party, and he added much-needed comic relief to the group’s live performances.
After the acoustic set and an intermission, the Eagles stood up and strapped on their electric instruments to rock the 20,000-seat arena, adding their five backup touring musicians. If you missed the concert you can still catch the Emmy Award-winning film documentary “History of the Eagles” on DVD, Blu-Ray and streaming on Netflix. For more information about the Eagles, go to their web site www.eaglesband.com.