The Illegal Eagles, Gig Review. The Liverpool Empire Theatre.
Eagles may soar high but only really sadly tour seemingly sporadically now and despite finally coming together to produce one of the most acclaimed albums of 2007 in Long Road Out Of Eden, it really doesn’t look as if it is going to be an ongoing concern for the band. Thankfully then for fans of the American band, The Illegal Eagles always seem to step up to the plate and deliver a set worthy of the illustrious band.
There is of course always going to be a call for nostalgia and if the band you love more than almost anything in the world won’t come to you then the best thing is to make sure you are seated in the venue when the next best thing comes to town.
Like Brit Floyd, The Illegal Eagles have no real equal in their ability to showcase the tunes that people are still desperate to hear, in some cases 40 years after they originally were released and in the Illegal Eagles, they really do come so very close to being as good as the object of everyone’s affection.
Coming on stage to the theme tune of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was a clever and inspired choice. By lowering the guard ever so slightly the band began to let fly as soon as the theme music stopped and in the end produced two hours of music that was possibly the best in Liverpool on the night.
Phil Aldridge, Garreth Hicklin, Jeff Green, Darin Murphy and Keith Atack gave a stunning rendition to the assembled audience at the Liverpool Empire Theatre of truly classic Eagles songs such as Lyin’ Eyes, Take It To The Limit, Desperado, Tequila Sunrise, New Kid In Town and the fan favourite and storming Life in the Fast Lane. Not once did it matter that it wasn’t the men who made these songs famous or legendary on stage, it was incredible enough to have the five that were there were playing the music that drove a generation onwards. In the end it boils down to whether the music is actually what you like or the image of what was once there.
The band teased the audience by playing parts of songs not associated with Eagles but instead became a small talking point to raise the banter between audience and crowd one final time. With small sections of the classic songs We Will Rock You by Queen, Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water and The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again, it became the biggest lead in to the sensational Hotel California ever devised, a clever and wonderfully self effacing idea.
A night which saw some of the music by one of the great bands of rock given a loving and gentle outing on the first night a hugely anticipated tour, it rarely gets better than that.
Ian D. Hall