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The Eagles keep winging through their history

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Thursday, July 23, 2015

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The History of the Eagles Tour has been going on for more than two years now.

But like the group's Glenn Frey likes to say, "it's a big story." And one that keeps growing.

The Eagles have been around for more than four decades now, initially fusing rock and country over the course of hits such as "Take It Easy," "Desperado," "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and many more and releasing two of the top-selling albums of all time, "Greatest Hits (1971-1975)" and 1976's "Hotel California." The group has also weathered legendary drug use, combustible interpersonal dynamics and even an outright breakup between 1980 and 1994.

"We've kind of been an open book, more open than we'd like," says Royal Oak native Frey, 66, who formed the Eagles during 1971 with Don Henley after the two played together in Linda Ronstadt's band. "The thing is we're still here. We're still doing it. The music should be more important than all that other stuff."

The History of the Eagles, which dovetailed with a documentary of the same name, is a largely chronological and lightly scripted show that starts with Frey and Henley onstage playing acoustic guitars, then expands to co-founder Bernie Leadon, who left the band in 1975, and gradually expands into a full complement of band members and supporting musicians. Having Leadon back in the fold has been particularly important to Joe Walsh, the man who replaced him.

"Bernie's brilliant," says Walsh, 67. "he's a great guitar player. I never really got a chance to play with him 'cause I kinda replaced him, but we've been in contact. I'm really glad he's in the show because it takes the whole thing up a notch, and I get to play with him, finally."

Additional chapters in Eagles' history are a question mark, however. The group will receive a Kennedy Center Honor in December, last released an album in 2007, "Long Road Out of Eden," with the various members releasing their own albums since. Henley, in fact, is planning to release the Americana-flavored "Cass County" on Sept. 25 and tour behind it.

But Frey says that's a healthier scenario than the group had during the first phase of his career.

"We plan the Eagles a year at a time; we can't be any more forward-looking than that," he explains. "That keeps you from getting ahead of yourself and putting one foot too far ahead of the other. We use the Eagles as the mothership; we go off and do individual stuff, then come back to the Eagles and it's fresh again.

"So we've struck a pretty good balance between our personal lives, our personal careers and the Eagles' business, and that keeps us from burning out on (the band) like we did 30-odd years ago."

The Eagles

8 p.m. Friday, July 24.

Joe Louis Arena, 19 Steve Yzerman Drive, Detroit.

Tickets are $49.50-$189.

Call 313-471-6606 or visit olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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