Eagles soar with extended tour and mostly glowing reviews

September 09, 1994|By Steve Morse | Steve Morse,Boston Globe

Funny how a 14-year break can do wonders for a band's psyche. They're making a new record. They're extending their tour. Who knows what's next?

"We hadn't planned to tour past Oct. 8, but things are going so well that we're going to tour to Christmas, and there's talk of Europe next spring," says singer Don Henley. "This fall, we're going to New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia."

While the Eagles have drawn criticism for their high ticket prices, they've earned many glowing reviews this summer, even from hard-bitten critics. Their shows feature a bunch of Eagles hits ("Hotel California" among them), but also nuggets from the archives and from the respective solo careers of Henley, Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh.

"As a band, we're playing and singing better than when we broke up," Henley says. "One reason is that we're all a lot more healthy compared to the old days. We have a couple of trainers on the road with us, and we've been working out. Joe [Walsh] has been playing really well, better than he has in a long time. We also hope to get some new material from him."

The Eagles are not just playing the hits. Says Henley: "Some reviewers give us high marks for not playing all the hits. But some give us low marks for not playing all the hits. There's just not enough time to play all the songs. Our show is running three hours and 20 minutes, with a 15-minute intermission.

"We've also been having curfew problems at some places. We're not starting the shows until dark, because we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lights, and we want people to see them."

In between tour dates, the Eagles are recording a new album for release this month or October. It will contain some live cuts from an MTV taping in May and four new studio tracks. They include "Learn to Be Still" ("Thoreauvians will see it as something familiar," Henley says), "The Girl from Yesterday" (written by Glenn Frey) and Henley's "Give It Up," about "the cult of victimhood."

"Ever watch TV talk shows in the afternoon?" Henley says, explaining the song. "You'll know why this has been called the age of whining. People say, 'It's everyone else's fault.' They're unwilling to take responsibility for their lives."

The Eagles have been working hard on new material, but they've also been dodging bullets about their ticket prices. Henley's voice turns weary as the subject is broached.

"First of all, our stadium prices are pretty much the same as the Billy Joel-Elton John show this summer, maybe $10 higher. But the expensive tickets are the ones that sell out first. Various reporters have also done exit polls at our shows to see if people felt they got their money's worth. And their answers show that they have."

He says that part of the Eagles' tour profits will go to charity.

"And let's not kid ourselves. Rock 'n' roll is a business. It's always been a business. A lot of the young rock 'n' roll musicians raise their fist against the corporate machine, but they all record for major labels. It's always been about money to some degree."

The Eagles

Where: RFK Stadium, Washington

When: Sept. 13

Call: (410) 481-SEAT, (202) 232-9726

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