By Peter Sloggatt
For all the anticipation, Don Henley’s Monday night show at The Paramount started somewhat abruptly. Audience members were still finding their ways to their seats after an hour-long reception downstairs in the venue’s VIP Founder’s Room when the house lights were dimmed. As guests flurried to find heir seats, there came a sudden and powerful sound from the still-dark stage. A half-dozen harmonizing voices filled the concert hall, and the stage lights came on to reveal Henley and several band members in a semicircle wailing out “Seven Bridges Road.” A beautiful, all-vocal arrangement from the “Eagles Live” album (1980), the song is focused and intense, though hardly among the better known Eagles hits.
It was gripping.
It was showtime.
He had the attention of the audience – which included Billy Joel in a private box in the loge section – and with the opening riffs of “Dirty Laundry,” let them know they’d be getting some of the familiar hits they had come for.
At the start, Henley told the audience what was in store: over two hours of music spanning more than four decades, from the old Eagles hits to new music.
“We’re going to do all of it,” he said. “If we get to something you don’t like, be cool. We’ll get to something you like.”
Henley delivered on that front, backed by a solid band and a trio of backup singers that, at times, stole the show (Lara Johnston received applause for her solo vocal performance). The show ran the gamut with the versatile band delivering different sounds like a synthesizer on shuffle. They were a country band for “Bramble Rose” and “That Old Flame” from last year’s Cass County. They were a jazzy funk for “Shangri La,” and with as many as a dozen people on stage at times, the sound was sometimes downright orchestral. There was even a cover of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.”
Henley made good on the promise to cover his 40-plus years as a composer and performer, and it was the familiar hits from his years with The Eagles and subsequent solo career that often brought the crowd to its feet.
There were plenty: “Dirty Laundry,” “Best of My Love,” “Boys of Summer,” and “One of Those Nights” all struck familiar chords. The crowd favorites: “Life in the Fast Lane” and “Hotel California.” The audience knew all the words.
The concert was the second in The Paramount’s exclusive Legends Series, which promises intimate performances by arena artists. Tickets, at $250 and up, were available for members of the venue’s VIP Founder’s Room club and included open bar, pre- and post-concert receptions and a commemorative ticket. Future shows have not yet been announced.