The Budweiser Stage went from dark to sudden illumination, revealing the presence of Don Henley and the members of his touring band singing ''Seven Bridges Road'' a cappella. Despite the many calls from the audience throughout the evening for Henley, who is also the drummer and vocalist for the legendary band, 'The Eagles,' to belt out another tune from his band, Henley delivered with all any fan could ever want from this legend.
It was never in doubt that Henley’s performance of his 4 1/2-decade career would be presented with anything but care and precision — his standards are too high to let any notes slip. It was there from the start, when the darkened arena was illuminated by the immediacy of nine voices intertwining in the bluegrass harmonies of Seven Bridges Road. And it was still there at the end, in a series of all-Eagles encores that confirmed Henley’s mission in the aftermath of Glenn Frey’s passing is to keep the band’s music alive, not to keep museum pieces free of dust.
Don Henley and Glenn Frey Photography ''The History of the Eagles'' Tour 2014
It amazed me the accuracy that Henley had throughout his performance last night — 'Dirty Laundry' and then 'Sunset Grill’s' climactic desperation was the perfect rendition of this iconic song— but by the time 'Witchy Woman's' haunting lyrics reverberated through the amphitheatre, Henley had the audience in the palm of his hand. Ok, who am I kidding, he had it from his very first note as the fans responded with applause and standing 'O's.' The mere promise of travelling back to 1972 was met with Tuesday-night yeeeeaahs in the middle of the work-week, and the enthusiasm was reflected on stage.
'One of These Nights' was just as spirited, as were the down-home numbers from last year’s Cass County album. Backup singers Lily Elise and Erica Swindell enjoyed luminous duets on 'That Old Flame' and 'When I Stop Dreaming, respectively; Bramble Rose saw cast members bonded in a semi-circle, a true ensemble in look and sound. In all cases, Henley was a courteous bandleader, giving voices and instruments the room they required.
Henley's humor was spot on when he said, 'The world has gone bat shit crazy and I am so glad to be on this side of the border,' he said. His humor was there throughout the night and we all loved it.
Henley paid a meaningful and touching tribute to his lost brother 'Glen Frey' with 'Peaceful Easy Feeling'' which brought a roar from the audience, shout outs and another standing ovation.
The legendary Don Henley started this tour to celebrate over four decades of classic rock 'n' roll hits! What he delivered to his fans was to solidify that he has one of the most distinguishable voices in rock music history, Henley brought a veteran sense of showmanship and technical musicianship to the stage. His storied career and continued commitment to releasing quality music marks this singer/songwriter as a living legend.
Henley received flexible, colorful backing from a nine-member band that included three female singers and which was augmented on three songs by a seven-piece horn section. In particular, solos from guitarist Stuart Smith and steel guitarist Milo Deering brought considerable dimension to the arrangements.
The singers — Erica Swindell, Lara Johnston and Lily Elise — took turns handling several of the duets allotted to Henley’s female partners on the album: Dolly Parton, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Allison Krauss and Stevie Nicks.
Except for anyone focused solely on celebrity sightings, there was no letdown in the musicality of those duets, save briefly for Swindell’s overly melismatic delivery of the exquisitely straight-to-the-gut verse Parton sings in “When I Stop Dreaming,” which needs no vocal filigree to get across the aching beauty of Ira Louvin’s lyrics:
You may teach the flowers to bloom in the snow
You may take a pebble and teach it to grow
You may teach all the raindrops to return to the clouds
But you can't teach my heart to forget
Having been in the public spotlight for more than four decades, Henley is by now a known quantity, a musician who prizes musical invention and lyrical exploration over performance pyrotechnics. He largely stayed rooted at his spot center stage, shifting only between acoustic and electric guitars, or solo vocals while the band served up the music.
The Tears for Fears choice also came out of left field, but fit in musically with the '80s and early-'90s vibe of his earlier solo hits between long tour stretches with the Eagles: “The End of the Innocence,” which opened with a stretched-out free-form intro, “Heart of the Matter,” "New York Minute," the insistently propulsive “Boys of Summe,r” ''Life in the Fast Lane'' ''Hotel California'' and the show-closing concession to booty-shaking, “All She Wants to Do Is Dance.”
By far, the best concert of the summer!
The complete setlist for last nights show:
Seven Bridges Road
(Steve Young cover)
That Old Flame
When I Stop Dreaming
(The Louvin Brothers cover)
New York Minute
One of These Nights
It Don't Matter to the Sun
(Garth Brooks cover)
Peaceful Easy Feeling
The End of the Innocence
The Last Resort
The Heart of the Matter
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
(Tears for Fears cover)
The Boys of Summer
Life in the Fast Lane
All She Wants to Do Is Dance
Americana band JD & The Straight Shot has been touring nonstop in support of their highly acclaimed 2016 all-acoustic album Ballyhoo!, and are currently working on new music due out in 2017. In addition to hitting the road with Don Henley, the band has performed alongside luminaries such as Joe Walsh, Chicago, the Eagles, Keith Urban, the Dixie Chicks, Jewel and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. South Florida Insider gushes, “JD & The Straight Shot’s wonderful harmonies make the melodies even sweeter” and their set is “everything a music lover could want and more.”
The acoustic guitars along with the violin, created images, memories, and emotions throughout the venue and the vocals by both frontman James Dolan and violinist Erin Slaver, were soothing and easy to the ear delivering a perfect harmony that had the fans engaged and clapping along. Let's face it, it's pretty hard to get up on stage to perform before Don Henley but the band did their job easily. It was a feel good performance in it's simplicity and stripped down stage setup. The lighting set the mood and matched the music perfectly for this performance.
JD & The Straight Shot started the show by playing a few songs from their latest album, “Ballyhoo!”, followed by some of their older songs. The crowd loved the song “Glide” leaving fans captivated immediately.
The band performed hit songs from “Ballyhoo!” such as “Perdition”, getting fans singing along. The audience seemed to settle into their seats with that laid back kind of feeling with the peaceful sounds of the violins, vocals and guitars played in the set.
Americana band JD & The Straight Shot playlist from last nights show at the Budweiser Stage, in Toronto:
Better Find A Church
Let It Roll
Americana band JD & The Straight Shot – featuring vocalist/guitarist Jim Dolan whose voice the New York Post calls “reminiscent of Tom Waits and Randy Newman,” bassist Byron House (Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton), violinist/fiddler Erin Slaver (Martina McBride, Rod Stewart) and guitarist Marc Copely (B.B. King, Rosanne Cash) – is currently working on their forthcoming album due out in 2017.
The achingly beautiful first single “I Know, You Know, I Know” gives an exciting taste of what’s to come. The track produced by Chuck Ainlay (Mark Knopfler, Miranda Lambert), was written by Dolan, Copely and Slaver and spotlights sweeping accordion melodies performed by Shawn Pelton (Sheryl Crow, Levon Helm). The new song has been a rousing audience favorite at JD & The Straight Shot shows. You can get their music on iTunes now!
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Henley's 70th birthday gig in Dallas will feature several special as-yet-unannounced guests and boast a setlist that includes selections from the musician's output with the Eagles and as a solo artist. Henley is also offering a limited number of travel packages for the concert that include tickets to the gig plus an additional event with the musician.
Along with his solo trek, Henley will play two gigs with the Eagles, Classic East and West, a new bi-coastal festival taking place in Los Angeles and New York, July 15th and 29th, respectively. The gigs notably mark the Eagles' first shows without founding member Glenn Frey, who died last January. Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, the Doobie Brothers, Journey and Earth, Wind & Fire are also set to perform.
A limited number of special RUNAWAY TOURS travel packages are available for fans who would like to spend more time with Don Henley on his birthday weekend, including a ticket to the birthday concert PLUS an additional evening of storytelling, Q&A, a photo with Don and much more. American Express® Card Members can purchase Runaway Tours Travel Package in Dallas before the general public beginning Monday, March 20 at 10 M through Thursday, March 23 at 10 PM. Check donhenley.com for complete tour and ticketing information.
For all Don Henley information, please click here