The Eagles were no more. Tensions within the group had caused their dissolution. “Hell would have to freeze over before The Eagles would get back together” or so stated Don Henley. It turned out that it took just under 15 years for hell to freeze solid.
The group owed their label one more album and so Eagles Live was issued in the fall of 1980. It was cobbled together from their 1979-1980 Long Run tour and their pre-release Hotel California tour from 1976. Producer Bill Szymczyk overdubbed some of the harmonies and guitar parts after the fact.
I believe the less you know about how the album was put together the better as it is actually a pretty good listen. It presents an accurate picture of The Eagles live at the end of the first part of their career. The performances are sharp and the harmonies and musicianship near perfect. Of particular note is the work of back-up drummer Joe Vitale who adds an extra dimension to the sound.
The track that always attracts my attention is “Seven Bridges Road.” I am still amazed at the purity of the harmonies at the beginning of the song. This gentle folk song, written by Steve Young, was a perfect addition to their stage act.
Joe Walsh shines with what are basically two solo numbers with The Eagles as his back-up band. There is a nine minute plus version of “Life’s Been Good” which allows him to improvise a bit more than normal for a member of The Eagles. His “All Night Long” is Walsh at his hard rocking best.
For the most part they stick to their well known material. “The Long Run,” “New Kind In Town,” “Take It To The Limit,” “Life In The Fast Lane,” and “Desperado” all make appearances. They vary from their hit parade with the unplugged “Saturday Night” which is another fine addition.
The final track, “Take It Easy,” rocks more than the studio version and benefits from that treatment. It is a perfect conclusion for a live album.
Eagles Live may not be the best live album ever released but it was quite good and served its purpose. Today it has been rendered somewhat obsolete by the Hell Freezes Over live material. Still if you want an entertaining picture of The Eagles circa 1976-1980 then this release is still worth seeking out.