A sell-out crowd was given a music history lesson last night as all-American country rockers The Eagles came to the West Midlands.
The legendary band members talked the audience at Birmingham’s LG Arena through the stories behind their tracks and albums, while demonstrating exactly what it is that packs out venues night after night.
Like an 18-wheeler on Route 66, the night was slow to start but the band, which include Don Henley and Glen Frey, soon got up a head of steam before barrelling into the end of their set.
The evening started as less of a conventional concert and more like an intimate jam session, with some of the band sat chilling on their amp cases strumming out a few of their more melancholic tracks such as Saturday Night.
Eventually the electric guitars were introduced and the full band and stage were revealed with a full complement of backing musicians. But the first half continued in the same downbeat vein as they worked their way through their early albums, while the odd video explained the origin of the tracks.
The first half was more country than rock, eliciting romantic visions of the American mid-west, of driving an open top convertible with nothing but miles of highway ahead.
The big scene behind the band obliged, showing rolling landscapes and panoramic sunsets.
The audience responded appropriately, the set provoking small, spontaneous clusters of applause.
Throughout, close-ups of their expert fingers as they danced over the guitar strings were shown on the big screens.
But in the second half the tempo was really kicked up a notch, as they launched into Heartache Tonight, New Kid In Town and Life In The Fast Lane among others.
By now the crowd was getting worked up, the odd one or two daring to get out of their seats for a dance.
But the concert was, perhaps inevitably, almost becoming the Joe Walsh show – the American version of Ozzy Osbourne was displaying his awesome skills with a guitar with some incredible solos, and he really came into his own with In The City.
And the night was made complete when, after the briefest of interludes, they finished off with the rousing Hotel California.
By Adam Grinsell