By Jake Ebdale

Artist:  Eagles

Date / Venue:  Saturday March 14th, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland

On the first of two absolutely packed shows, the Eagles took us on an intimate, often humorous journey that traced their beginnings in the late sixties up until the present day. Billed as ‘The History of the Eagles', the show is narrated throughout by all core members, with the focus on the songwriting team of Don Henleyand Glenn Frey.

Starting with ‘Saturday Night' from Desperado, it began with Henley and Frey on acoustic guitars. It was an understated opener but with good reason - this was the only song to be written by the four original members. There were other great tidbits from both men - being the backing band for Linda Ronstadt, writing tunes in a dilapidated flat in the Hollywood Hills and collaborating with Jackson Browne. These guys have had one hell of a career.

Once the familiar chords of ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling' hit, the crowd roared their approval - and the night really got going. The hits never let up. A fantastic funky version of ‘Witchy Woman' was an early highlight; the point where that Eagles sound really kicked in, accompanied by emergent bassist Timothy B Schmidt and reformed rebel Joe Walsh.

There were other stunners - ‘Already Gone', the opener of 1974's On The Border, had an amusing backdrop of Frey on an oldies road trip, and ‘Doolan Dalton' was given an epic reprise. ‘Heartache Tonight' was the first ‘get up and dance' moment. The storytelling aspect added positively to the show; the narration never hokey or forced (even though some was clearly scripted). It was a delight watching these core members do what they do after being away for so long.

But as the night rolled on, the clear star of the show was Walsh, himself a former member of NZ reggae bandHerbs ("I stayed here for a month one night," Walsh chimed in) The epic stretch of ‘Those Shoes', ‘In the City'and ‘Life's Been Good' proved why he is such a star - that talk-box is still a wonder - and his voice and playing (with many different, amazing, expensive guitars) were on point.

But that big stadium moment - yep, ‘Hotel California' - was the true show stopper. It had to be. The whole crowd were on their feet with some of the loudest singing I've ever heard. And that solo in the coda always gets you in the good spot.

All up, this was a fantastic two hour gig which embraced the nostalgia instead of hiding the fact. Let me say this now - I've only started listening to the band in preparation for this review. And watching them do their thing, I am now a true fan. Excellent.