How Glenn Frey Said Goodbye With the ‘History of the Eagles’ Tour
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The two-year History of the Eagles tour offered the veteran act an opportunity to survey all corners of their catalog while looking back on their journey from backup band to multi-platinum artists — and although no one knew it at the time, it doubled as a farewell for co-founder Glenn Frey, who died on Jan. 18.
The tour, which shared a name with the band’s official documentary film, started July 6, 2013, in Louisville, Ky., and concluded just over 140 dates later on July 29, 2015, in Bossier City, La. During the first year alone, the group played to more than a million people, racking up more than $145 million along the way.
After reuniting in the early ’90s, the group released only one full-length collection of new material, the 2007 double LP Long Road Out of Eden, so its concerts tended to be fairly focused on the greatest hits regardless of whatever tour the Eagles happened to be on. But the History of the Eagles trek was an even more deliberately retrospective affair, offering fans a lengthy sampling of songs and stories spanning their first 20 years.
To that end, the band adopted a different stage presentation for the tour, starting the sets with Frey and Don Henley on a pair of stools for acoustic versions of the early songs “Saturday Night” and “Train Leaves Here This Morning” — the latter featuring lead vocals by former member Bernie Leadon, who rejoined for the tour. Slowly joined by the remaining Eagles, they delivered a set list that usually included a pair of encores and nearly 30 songs.
The final night of the tour, of which you can sample a few seconds courtesy of the fan-shot footage above, was no different. Over two sets, two encores and 27 songs, the Eagles celebrated their long legacy by performing with Frey for what would sadly be the final time.
Yet while the surviving band members and their millions of fans mourn Frey’s death, the Eagles can at least say they went out on their own terms, doing what they did best — and unlike the first time they said goodbye, they were able to end this tour without a sense of unfinished business. As Henley admitted in a 2011 interview, the group’s last few years together were spent with an appreciation for their past, but also a feeling of impending finality.
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