Eagles’ music has been a part of my life since childhood since my dad has always been a keen listener of their music. I of course jumped at the chance to get to hear a professional band play a full concert of Eagles songs, and the whole Hotel California album from beginning to end, and I’m glad to say I was not disappointed of the experience.
The set was not especially surprising, as it comprises of Eagles’ greatest hits, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, as even the band’s logo states ‘The Best of Eagles’. This isn’t 100% accurate though, as Talon did throw in songs from Henley’s, Walsh’s and Frey’s solo work, for example Henley’s Dirty Laundry. They still don’t feel out of place as amongst Eagles songs as Eagles themselves perform the core group’s solo hits on tours.
Eagles as a live performer has always had a distinctive live sound (although I’ve never seen them live myself, only a few DVDs), and I was quite surprised to hear Talon mimicking even that quite well. Also the lead vocalists’ voices sound quite similar to their original counterparts; especially Chris Loyd’s and Peter Anderson’s vocal delivery was impressive. The vocal harmonies were occasionally out of tune, but the performers do get clean marks even on this part, as the songs are quite demanding to perform, especially while playing an instrument and singing at the same time. Seven Bridges Road was very impressive as it was since it is mostly an a cappella piece and I’d almost name it as one of my favourites of the evening. It is kind of ironic though that a cover band performs a song, which is by itself a cover already, as Steve Young recorded his own take of the song in 1969.
Performing the iconic Hotel California album from start to finish was an ambitious goal to set but was executed very well. I was rather disappointed in the use of an audio clip of the acoustic version of the title song itself, albeit performing the body of the song as it appears in the 1976 album. The band should have had the courage to perform the song wholly as an acoustic piece as it appears on Hell Freezes Over or exactly as the original recording and not mix the two because the two arrangements don’t mix together that well and it isn’t really true to the band’s goal of performing Eagles note for note, seeing as every other song was performed either as recorded or as played live.
This actually is the Achilles’ heel of the whole performance for me: I’m not sure whether I would have preferred the performers take more artistic freedoms with the songs rather than performing them as they did, note for note. In a way it makes sense for a cover band to play songs as they are, but then again the performance fails to breathe new life into the songs as you know exactly what is going to happen next.
All in all the concert was in its entirety an excellent showcase for the performers’ mastery of their craft. Having not seen the real deal I could imagine Talon being the next best thing from the original, but someone who has a reference point might say otherwise. Nostalgia and entertainment are the lifeline of these kind of performances and Talon definitely deliver on both accounts, yet leave me wondering what they could come up with on their own.