THE EAGLES AND MICHELLE BRANCH, Rio Tinto Stadium, May 9
SANDY — Jackie and Jim Sultana flew in from San Diego, Calif., to catch the Saturday night Eagles concert at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"They weren't coming to San Diego anytime soon," said Jackie Sultana at the City Center TRAX station while buying tickets. "We looked online and found the last show in the states was Salt Lake City. I have a sister who lives here and we called her and flew out on Friday. And then we'll fly home on Sunday."
The Sultanas were among the more than 23,000 Eagles fans who attended the show, which was the first concert ever held in the Rio Tinto Stadium, home of the Real Salt Lake Soccer team.
In fact, just before opening act Michelle Branch took the stage, Real Salt Lake owner Dave Checketts addressed the music-hungry crowd.
"Thank you for being here to celebrate this musical opening," he said.
And without further ado, Branch took the stage for an intimate, 30-minute acoustic set. Her musical partner was none other than producer John Leventhal on the other acoustic guitar.
And while the audience applauded politely for Branch, who by the way graduated from Provo High School via a correspondence program, it was the Eagles the crowd was here to see.
The band — drummer/vocalist Don Henley, guitarist/vocalist Glenn Frey, bassist vocalist Timothy B. Schmit and guitarist/vocalist Joe Walsh — cranked out a hit parade of tunes featuring old favorites such as "Witchy Woman," "Peaceful Easy Feelin,'" and "One of These Nights."
The group also dipped into new territory with "How Long" and "Busy Being Fabulous," from the most recent double album "Long Road Out of Eden."
Tight arrangements, highlighted by the individual solos and additional guitar solos by Steuart Smith, had the audience singing along.
"Take It to the Limit," "I Can't Tell You Why" and "Lyin' Eyes" were among the crowd pleasers.
A trumpet intro to "Hotel California," during which Henley's voice did crack a bit, brought the audience to its feet. And solo hits such as Henley's "Dirty Laundry" and "Boys of Summer" and Walsh's "Funk #49," "Walk Away," "In the City" and his autobiographical "Life's Been Good" were also part of the no-frills-and-clean-cut show.
Walsh's funky solos were the perfect foil to Frey's clean, country-rock fingering. But Schmit's bass could have used a boost in volume.
The band didn't forget "Hotel California," "Heartache Tonight," "The Long Run" and "Take It Easy," and ended on a somber note with "Desperado."
Sure the Eagles have aged through the years, and while Frey joked that this tour was the "Assisted Living Tour," the band played like it was 20-years younger.
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