|Alex Klutt Photography courtesy of ultimateclassrock.com|
One was longtime Eagles friend and country superstar Vince Gill. The other could have been mistaken for a '70s-era hologram of band co-founder Glenn Frey, who died last year at age 67, but instead was the late Eagle's 24-year-old son Deacon, admirably filling his dad's massive shoes for the group's first concert since his death.
"We are the Eagles from Los Angeles," Joe Walsh said by way of (unnecessary) introduction following that opening number. "We're back, and we're back for our family, and you are part of our family. This one's for you, Glenn. You're in our hearts, and the music goes on. Let's give a warm Eagles family welcome to Deacon Frey."
Throughout the two-and-a-half-hour set, Frey was given the unenviable task of re-creating some of his dad's most recognizable hits for the tens of thousands of fans who know them best, starting with his signature, "Take It Easy."
It was an emotional start to the night for Eagles fans who might have expected to never hear these songs performed live again, given Don Henley calling the 2016 Grammy tribute to Frey "the final farewell" last year. "I don’t think you’ll see us performing again," he said back in March 2016. "That was probably it."
Henley echoed those sentiments Saturday night, hinting that The Classic West and East dates -- which continued Sunday night (July 16) at Dodger Stadium with Fleetwood Mac headlining before hitting New York's Citi Field on July 29-30 -- were all about closure for the blockbuster band. "In case this is our last dance, we want to thank all the fans of Southern California," he said.
And they were properly thanked throughout the night, with Frey and Gill trading off lead duties on Glenn's biggest hits. Before launching into "Peaceful Easy Feeling," Deacon thanked the Eagles family -- both on and off the stage -- for their part in easing the pain of his dad's untimely death. Deacon also handled lead vocals on the rocker "Already Gone," while Gill brought his Nashville touch to "Lyin' Eyes," "Tequila Sunrise," "Take It to the Limit" and "New Kid in Town."
There was one more person who wanted to join in on the Glenn tribute: Fellow Detroiter Bob Seger -- who met Frey as a backup singer in the 1960s -- surprised the crowd to perform a song he co-wrote with the band, 1979's "Heartache Tonight."