You can’t say there’s been a lack of rock and roll nostalgia this year, with tours from the likes of Tom Petty, John Mellencamp, Foreigner and U2’s Joshua Tree outing. But The Classic East festival proved the old guard still has a plenty of game.
Saturday, Citi Field in Queens, New York played host to a solid blend of classic rock, jazz rock, and some blue-eyed soul with the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan and The Eagles. The Doobies played first, with a lineup fronted by longtime members Tom Johnston, Pat Simmons and John McFee.
Leading with “Jesus Is Just Alright” from 1972’s Toulouse Street, the band settled delivered classics including “Rockin’ Down the Highway” and “Maxine,” with radio favorites “Takin’ It to the Streets,” “Black Water,” “Long Train Runnin'” and “China Grove” bringing the crowd to its feet.
Things took the expected, mellower direction under Steely Dan, minus Walter Becker, who’s still absent from the tour due to undisclosed illness. Donald Fagen fronted a set of trademark blues and jazz-infused rock featuring “Hey Nineteen,” “Aja” and “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.” At one point, Fagen remarked on the constant jet flyovers from nearby LaGuardia airport: “I think it’s North Korea.” The 13-song set ended, appropriately, with the 1973 hit “Reelin’ in the Years.”
Then, the main event: The Eagles. Their future is still murky after the passing of founding member Glenn Frey last year, and The Classic Festival has been a test run of sorts, with country legend Vince Gill and Frey’s 24-year-old son, Deacon, filling a monumental void. The result was a stellar performance, highlighted by Deacon’s strong physical and spiritual resemblance to his father. He moved audience members to tears with his work on songs like “Take It Easy,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Already Gone.”
As for Vince Gill, Don Henley called him “one of the best singer-songwriters and guitarists this country has ever produced.” Gill proved it during performances of hits like “New Kid In Town,” “Take It To The Limit,” and the emotional soul-punch of “Lyin’ Eyes.”
Timothy B. Schmidt and Joe Walsh more than delivered on their anthems “I Can’t Tell You Why” and “In The City,” with Walsh leaving no doubt he’s still a star, mesmerizing the audience with his signature vocals and riffs, highlighted by blistering guitar work on the James Gang-era “Funk 49.”
“Hotel California” was there, too, in all its sing-along grandeur, after which Henley put a bow on the night with “Desperado.”
If The Eagles do decide to continue with Gill and Deacon Frey, Saturday’s show proved their ongoing legacy will be in very good hands.
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Source: Classic Rock News