Don Henley spoke about the Eagles' taking their 1976 masterpiece Hotel California out on the road. Along with Henley, the Eagles now feature classic members Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit — along with the late-Glenn Frey's 26-year-old son Deacon Frey, as well as country legend Vince Gill. The band's 2020 dates kicks off on Friday and Saturday (February 7th and 8th) at Atlanta's State Farm Arena.
In October, the band wrapped a handful of "Hotel California" shows in Vegas. The 31-song concerts, which featured an accompanying orchestra and choir, kicked off with the classic album, with the band going on to play a further 23 tunes — including a few dips into both Henley and Walsh's solo catalogues.
Henley, who's now 72 years old, and wrote the majority of the band's catalogue with Glenn Frey, spoke to USA Today and explained, "It’s a big undertaking and there’s a theatrical element. While people are coming into the auditorium, we’re singing 'Welcome,' as in 'Welcome to the Hotel California,' in a spooky, drawn-out fashion. We have thunder and the sound of wind bouncing around all over the auditorium. Lights are flashing, as if they were lightning bolts."
He went on to say, "Then just as things come to a peak, a tall fellow, dressed in a black, antique European bellman’s costume and a cape, walks across the stage, holding the vinyl album 'Hotel California.' He takes it out of the jacket, blows off the dust — a symbolic gesture — places it carefully on the turntable and puts the stylus down. There’s even a hissing sound, like a needle on vinyl. Then we start the song and the curtain rises."
Things are very different from the original trek behind the chart-topping Hotel California tour, which started back in late 1976: "I’m the one who said ‘Let’s get Deacon into the band.' That was a surprise to everybody, including him, his mother and his family. But I knew he could do it. It’s a little surreal for me when I’m on the drums and he’s directly in front of me; his hair and his profile are eerily reminiscent of his father’s. But it’s also been a healing thing for him and for those of us in the band who worked with his dad. Actually, he remembers our parts from the records so well that if we’ve let something slip over the years, he’ll say, 'That’s not what you were doing on the record.' And we go, 'Oh, yeah. You’re right!'"
Henley spoke about about the Hotel California album being the highlight of the band's career: "Every band has its creative peak. I think that was ours. We’d become very adept in the studio. We knew a lot about production. We knew more about songwriting. We had the musicianship. We were willing to make some changes and take some risks and try to do something different from anything we’d done before."
He went on to say, "And you know, the astronauts in the Space Station get a wakeup call every day. A lot of times the folks in the (NASA) control center would play 'Hotel California.' (Laughs) Personally, I don’t know if I would want to start the day with that."
Back in 2015 Don Henley was interviewed by old friend Billy Joel at Manhattan's 92nd Street Y, and spoke candidly about how and where the Eagles fit into his life these days: ["The Eagles is just a part of me. Glenn (Frey) and I started that band back in 1971 and we did have a little hiatus; y'know, we parted company for 14 years — and then in 1994 realized actually that there was still a demand for our services — and so, we got back together. And it hasn't always been smooth sailing, but as we've gotten older and more mature, and as we've all gotten married and had children, y'know, that will have a tempering effect on your personality."] SOUNDCUE (:29 OC: . . . on your personality)