The Eagles launched their 40th anniversary tour on Saturday (July 6th) at Louisville, Kentucky's KFC Yum! Center with a career-spanning setlist featuring the four principle bandmembers -- Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit. The tour includes co-founding lead guitarist Bernie Leadon back for his first shows since quitting the Eagles in 1975. The band kicked things off on a mellow note with the 1973 ballad "Saturday Night" from the Eagles' second album, Desperado. Bernie Leadon was quickly called into action performing his "Train Leaves Here In The Morning" from the band's 1972 self-titled debut.
Don Henley spoke about the tour to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and touched upon co-founding bassist Randy Meisner, who left the band in 1978 and is now reportedly suffering from Alzheimer's Disease: "Randy Meisner, if he were healthy and willing, might have been included, too, but his current health will not permit. We are all wishing him well."
He spoke about the absence on the tour of ousted guitarist Don Felder, who was fired from the Eagles in 2001 following monetary disputes with Henley, Glenn Frey, and Eagles manager Irving Azoff. When asked about Felder's tearful showing when discussing his exit from the group in the Eagles' recent documentary, History Of The Eagles, Henley replied: "That was a poignant moment, for sure -- if it was real. But since Mr. Felder continues to engage in legal action, of one kind or another, against us, I can't really say anything further about it."
Henley spoke realistically about the future of the Eagles, admitting, "This could very well be our last major tour. Covering the entire globe will take us about two years. The demand has been so strong in some markets that we will have to return next year, because multiple nights at arenas just aren't available right now. Here in the States, we have to work around the schedules of the basketball and hockey teams. So, by the time we get through this tour, it'll be 2015 and we'll all be in our late-60s. It's been an incredible experience for all of us, but it may be time to say adios and bow out gracefully."
Bernie Leadon played a pivotal role in helping define the country-based sound of the first few Eagles records. He recalled that "Peaceful Easy Feeling" from the band's 1972 debut was the perfect mission statement for the band at the time: "It tied in with the rest because it's about the Southwest, it's about sleep(ing) in the desert with the stars all around and everything. And it sort of again captured that moment; we were all in our early 20's in Southern California, y'know the desert breezes, the Santa Ana winds -- that kind of thing. Romance in the air, and bougainvillea, and margaritas -- hey!"
Don Henley told us that he's proud of the fact, that the band doesn't cringe when performing some of their earliest material onstage today: "I think they're pretty accurate representations of where the culture was at that time, which is, y'know, what we were trying to do. By and large, they hold up pretty well. I don't get squeamish about anything, and I don't think anything is completely anachronistic or out of place, which is one reason that we're still around."
The Eagles' opening night setlist on July 6th, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky (via Setlist.fm.com):
"Train Leaves Here This Morning"
"Peaceful Easy Feeling"
"The Best Of My Love"
"One Of These Nights"
"Take It To The Limit"
"Wasted Time (Reprise)"
"Pretty Maids All In A Row"
"I Can't Tell You Why"
"New Kid In Town"
"Love Will Keep Us Alive"
"In The City"
"Life's Been Good"
"The Long Run"
"Life In The Fast Lane"
"Take It Easy"
"Rocky Mountain Way"
The Eagles tour dates (subject to change):
July 9 - Cleveland, OH - Quicken Loans Arena
July 11 - Toronto, ON - Air Canada Centre
July 13 - Grand Falls-Windsor, NL Exploits - Valley Salmon Festival at Centennial Field
July 15 - Ottawa, ON - Scotiabank Place
July 16 - Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center
July 18 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena
July 19 - Mansfield, MA - Comcast Center
July 22 - Washington, DC - Verizon Center
July 23 - Pittsburgh, PA - Consol Energy Center
July 25 - Bethel, NY - Bethel Woods Center For The Arts
September 4 - Seattle, WA - KeyArena At Seattle Center
September 6 - Vancouver, BC - Rogers Arena
September 7 - Vancouver, BC - Rogers Arena
September 9 - Edmonton, AB - Rexall Palace
September 11, 12 - Calgary, AB - Scotiabank Saddledome
September 14 - Saskatoon, SK - Credit Union Centre
September 16 - Winnipeg, MB - MTS Centre
September 18 - Minneapolis, MN - Target Center
September 20 - Chicago, IL - United Center
September 21 - Auburn Hills, MI - The Palace of Auburn Hills
October 4 - Lincoln, NE - Pinnacle Bank Arena
October 5 - Denver, CO - Pepsi Center
October 7 - Wichita, KS - Intrust Bank Arena
October 9 - Tulsa, OK - BOK Center
October 11, 12 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center
October 14 - Memphis, TN - FedExForum
October 16 - Nashville, TN - Bridgestone Arena
October 18 - Indianapolis, IN - Bankers Life Fieldhouse
October 19 - Rosemont, IL - Allstate Arena
October 21 - Moline, IL - I Wireless Center
October 23 - Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center
October 24 - St. Louis, MO - Scottrade Center
November 4 - Montreal, QC - Bell Centre
November 6 - Toronto, ON - Air Canada Centre
November 8, 9 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden Arena
November 15 - Charlotte, NC - Time Warner Cable Arena
November 16 - Greensboro, NC - Greensboro Coliseum
November 18 - Birmingham, AL - BJCC Arena
November 20 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Bay Times Forum
November 22 - Miami, FL - AmericanAirlines Arena
November 23 - Orlando, FL - Amway Center