Ultimate Eagles (Sheffield) Hot
Written by Central Electronic Brain     October 02, 2018    
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Ultimate Eagles - City Hall, Sheffield (UK) - 28 September 2018

I was going to preface this review with the fact that you are unlikely to see the real Eagles anytime soon on these shores; then, lo and behold, on the very day that I go and see this tribute band, the original group announce a UK tour for next year. That said, there is very little possibility of securing second row tickets in your home city for only twenty-five pounds to see the real deal!

The Ultimate Eagles are not a look-alike band, but instead a group of very talented musicians who happen to be massive fans of the Eagles. This tour was called 'The Greatest Hits' tour which doesn't really help to narrow it down when it comes to song selection, such is the calibre of the quintessential American band's back catalogue.

This evening's show was in the Oval Hall of the Sheffield City Hall, and as with their previous visits, only the downstairs stalls area was open to the audience. The latter did not detract from the pleasant atmosphere generated by the expectant crowd.

The six band members casually strolled onto the stage and began the show with a stunning A Cappella intro to 'Seven Bridges Road'. The laid-back start to the show continued with 'Peaceful Easy Feeling'. One of the earliest recorded Eagles songs, 'Witchy Woman', was up next before 'Doolin-Dalton' appeared and showcased Tyketto's Danny Vaughn on lead vocals and harmonica; for those interested, this particular track was inspired by the Doolin-Dalton gang in late 19th century Oklahoma.

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'Tequila Sunrise' featured Ultimate Eagles' musical director Chris Wright on lead vocals and guitar for a track that was one of the first collaborations between Don Henley and Glenn Frey. The Eagles' last studio album, 'Long Road Out Of Eden', is now over ten years old and it featured one of Frey's favourite songs, 'No More Cloudy Days'; here it was lovingly recreated with Michael Lawrence on lead vocals and saxophone. The lead-off single from that last studio album was 'How Long', however, this is a song that was initially written back in the seventies. Lawrence also took over lead vocals for my personal favourite Eagles track (and one of the finest songs ever penned) in the shape of the sublime 'Lyin' Eyes'. 'Ol' '55', written by Tom Waits, featured the newest member of the Ultimate Eagles – Stephen Barlow – on pedal steel guitar before they played their first number one hit single 'Best Of My Love'. The intro to 'One Of These Nights' was kicked off by the thunderous fingers of Chris Childs, while this song also highlighted the incredible harmonies that the Ultimate Eagles possess. Set one was brought to a close with the band's most requested song, 'The Last Resort', which came with a poignant video backdrop.

If the first set showed what beautiful laid-back songs the Eagles wrote and recorded, then set two proved how they could also Rock. Starting with the Joe Walsh solo hit 'Life's Been Good', the classics kept on coming with the Lone Ranger (aka Glenn Frey) written 'New Kid In Town' (which won a Grammy) and 'Heartache Tonight' (a track co-written by the great Bob Seger). As well as being extremely talented musicians, the members of the Ultimate Eagles are also self-confessed anoraks when it comes to their favourite band, and they revelled in telling stories about the band and their classic songs.

Ultimate Eagles Sheffield Live 1

The second most requested song from the Ultimate Eagles fans was the first Eagles song to feature Timothy B. Schmit on lead vocals, 'I Can't Tell You Why', and tonight it featured Chris Wright on lead vocals and was executed to perfection. Arguably 'Get Over It', the heaviest Eagles song, written for the 'Hell Freezes Over' reunion album, kicked ass and gave the whole group the opportunity to Rock out. 'Already Gone' kept up the momentum as did the feel-good Glenn Frey solo hit 'The Heat Is On' which was played to a backdrop of the city of Chicago (ironically it's probably recognised as much for being the theme song to the Eddy Murphy film 'Beverly Hills Cop').

Ultimate Eagles Sheffield Live 2

Joe Walsh was warming up before a gig one day, when Glenn Frey walked by his dressing room and asked him what he was playing after hearing this amazing riff. From that, the sensational 'Life In The Fast Lane' was written and it was yet another highlight from this great show. The introduction of the double-neck guitar signalled the end of the main set and probably the Eagles most famous song, the ultra-classic 'Hotel California'.

The band left the stage to great applause, however they returned a few minutes later where Danny Vaughn took time to introduce each of the members of the Ultimate Eagles, before being introduced himself by Michael Lawrence. The band then played a two-song encore of 'Take It Easy' and the beautiful 'Desperado'.

Ultimate Eagles Sheffield Live 3

There may be some who have the opinion that tribute/cover bands should not be supported; however, I believe that music of this quality should be heard in the live arena. Not everyone has the finances to be able to go and see the real band. The Ultimate Eagles are not cashing in, but simply spreading the music of their heroes to an even wider live audience. I for one will be back to see them again.

Mark Donnelly

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