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The Eagles shine at Revel in Atlantic City as summer comes to a close

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It’s safe to say that Revel Resorts and Casino’s summer concert series started and ended with a bang.

After Beyonce kicked off the casino’s grand opening with a handful of shows in May, this Labor Day ended with two weekend shows from one of rock’s greatest institutions: The Eagles. Eagles photo: Examiner.com

The super group, which formed in the early 1970’s, disbanded in the early 80’s, then reformed in 1994, have only several shows lined up for 2012, making the show one of the biggest weekend attractions in the most concert-laden schedule the Tri-State area has ever seen for one particular weekend.

But despite the band’s massively successful 40-year run in the music business (they are the highest-selling American band in the history of the United States), you either find staunch Eagles supporters, or those who think the band is an absolute plague to the industry.

Luckily, I am one of the former, and Sunday night’s show at Revel showed why.

The band’s harmonies (which are equal to or possibly better than Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s) were on full display with set opener “Seven Bridges Road,” followed by “How Long” (the lone track played from 2007’s Long Road Out of Eden’) and classics “Take it to the Limit,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “I Can’t Tell You Why” (sung by bassist Timothy B. Schmidt).

Despite often being criticized for their overly serious stage demeanor and outlandish ticket prices, the group (particularly the always entertaining Joe Walsh) showed a sense of humor throughout the night, even improvising with several all-out jams-  most noticeably on Walsh’s solo numbers and James Gang hits “Life’s Been Good,” Rocky Mountain Way,” “Funk #49” and “Walk Away.”  At one point, Don Henley gave the state of Pennsylvania props (“Man, you guys can DRINK!”) and Glenn Frey gave a backhanded comment to his native state of Michigan ("Yeah, I'm from Detroit...where mother is 'half' a word.")

While it would have been nice if the group dusted off such hits as “Best of My Love,” “Victim of Love” and “Those Shoes” (all three have been noticeably absent from their set list for years), it’s hard to complain when you get “Take it Easy,”Witchy Woman,“In the City,” “The Long Run,” “Heartache Tonight,” “Life in the Fast Lane” and set closer “Desperado.”  After all, the Eagles don’t have the highest selling album in U.S. history (their 1975 greatest hits album) for nothing.

Despite strong contributions from the entire band, the Eagles’ top gun is still vocalist and drummer Henley, who’s always a consistent force behind the kit as well as in front of the microphone-handling both duties simultaneously for “Witchy Woman” and “Hotel California,” the group’s signature song from their 1976 album of the same name. Henley also branched out mid-set with solo hits “Dirty Laundry” and the epic (as well as apropos) “Boys of Summer.”  

The Eagles only come around occasionally these days, but despite their relative inactivity in 2012, the band still showed why admission spent on an Eagles concert is one of best buys in music. A two-hour show featuring rock’s most recognizable FM staples in addition to the band’s best solo efforts with musicianship second to none is tough to beat.

I’m not sure when the Eagles will be coming around again, but do yourself a favor and see them. After all, they’re one of rock and roll’s all-time greatest American groups: and unlike our football team, these Eagles never let you down.

Setlist:

Seven Bridges Road

How Long

Take It to the Limit

Peaceful Easy Feeling

I Can't Tell You Why

Lyin' Eyes

Walk Away     

The Boys of Summer      

In the City

The Long Run

Life's Been Good

Dirty Laundry

Funk #49

Heartache Tonight

Life in the Fast Lane

Encore:

Hotel California

Take It Easy

Rocky Mountain Way

Desperado

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Photo: Examiner.com

Special Thanks to Maureen Siman (Revel Entertainment) and Kristin Insacalo Morea (Group Manager, Travel & Lifestyle Marketing- Weber Shandwick)