When Deacon Frey Made His Eagles’ On Stage Debut

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For those who stubbornly insist that with Glenn Frey’s death in 2016 and Don Henley’s (premature) announcement that Eagles were thus finished, get over it (as Henley himself famously sang on the classic rock band’s 1994 album). Eagles returned to the concert stage on Saturday night, July 15, 2017, albeit with a significantly altered lineup of family and friends at Dodger Stadium, as the first night headliner for the first of two festival-like appearances billed as the Classic.

Eagles’ Henley, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh were joined for their 23-song set by Frey’s 24-year-old son, Deacon, and by country star Vince Gill, each of whom sang lead vocals on some of Frey’s well known hits. When news of Frey fils broke on May 15, Henley said, “Glenn’s son Deacon is a very talented young man, and he seems to be up for the task. He’s enthusiastic about it and he’s been working real hard on it, and he’s gonna do it with us. I think that’s appropriate.”

Deacon Frey and Gill weren’t the only newcomers on stage. Bob Seger was a surprise guest, singing lead on “Heartache Tonight,” which he co-wrote with Henley, Frey and J.D. Souther.

It didn’t take long for Deacon Frey to get his feet wet. The set’s second song was on the band’s breakthrough hit, 1972’s “Take It Easy.” And there, singing lead vocal was Deacon, wearing a hometown Dodgers jersey. Frey was supported by Gill on backup vocals and Walsh for the guitar solo, as well as the large crowd who sang along on the familiar song. Said Walsh: “Ladies and Gentlemen, please give a warm Eagles family welcome,” as Deacon Frey’s name was shown on the stage screen.

Watch a report from KTLA-TV

Deacon Frey was born on April 17, 1993.

[Eagles are among the handful of acts that remove material from YouTube faster than a newly married couple’s clothes on their wedding night. When this story was originally published, many more videos were featured for viewing.]

“The co-writer of this next song… one of the most beloved figures in rock ‘n’ roll music…” Bob Seger sang lead on “Heartache Tonight.”

Watch (sort of) the final number of the main set

Watch the night’s final performance, “Desperado”

Saturday’s event also featured sets by the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan. Fleetwood Mac headlines Sunday night’s show, with opening acts Earth, Wind & Fire and Journey. (This one in Los Angeles was dubbed by its organizers as Classic West; two weeks later, they’d do it all again at New York’s Citi Field for the Classic East.

Eagles had such a good time that they added another concert, Classic Northwest.

Tickets to see Eagles concerts are available at Ticketmaster and here.

Eagles, July 15, 2017, Classic West Setlist

Seven Bridges Road
Take It Easy
One of These Nights
Take It To the Limit
Tequila Sunrise
Witchy Woman
I Can’t Tell You Why
Lyin’ Eyes
Those Shoes
Peaceful Easy Feeling
Best of My Love
Love Will Keep Us Alive
New Kid in Town
The Last Resort
Already Gone
In the City
Heartache Tonight
Life’s Been Good
Funk #49
Life in the Fast Lane

Encore
Hotel California

Second Encore
Rocky Mountain Way
Desperado

Related: After Eagles announced in April 2022 that Deacon Frey was leaving their touring band, he was a surprise guest two months later

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8 Comments so far

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  1. Santiago
    #1 Santiago 16 July, 2017, 09:53

    Thanks for the Eagles Story

    Reply this comment
  2. Brad
    #2 Brad 16 July, 2017, 14:44

    This is sorta like the story of the axe, which axe head over the years gets replaced when it can’t be further sharpened and the handle gets replaced when it cracks and is splintered. Is it the same axe after all those years? With Henley the only original member, one ponders.

    Reply this comment
  3. ESSE
    #3 ESSE 16 July, 2017, 16:27

    Glenn would have been proud of the Eagles,Vince G. , BOB S. ( Mr Detroit) & his son Deacon Frey ! Another historic night of music in Los Angeles!!!

    Reply this comment
  4. -- L --
    #4 -- L -- 16 July, 2017, 20:07

    Wish I could have been there!

    Reply this comment
  5. Nancy
    #5 Nancy 17 July, 2017, 17:46

    Unfortunately, most of these performances were removed. It sounds like it was a great show. The Eagles’ music is timeless.

    Reply this comment
    • Greg Brodsky
      Greg Brodsky 17 July, 2017, 21:33

      Thanks for the heads’ up, Nancy. All 4 of the original clips were removed from YouTube but we’ve replaced them with others. (For now…)

      Reply this comment
  6. Jimmy
    #6 Jimmy 15 November, 2017, 11:59

    Thanks for the story on one of the greatest bands ever.

    Reply this comment
  7. Da Mick
    #7 Da Mick 18 July, 2022, 15:42

    Hey Brad, First of all, in terms of bands, the further you go back in time, any bands that are still performing as that group are bound to have more and more replacement members. And that’s OK if the replacements are comparable to the original members in sound and style, and if they understand and embrace what was great about the original group to start with and maintain the sound. If it keeps the music alive, I think most folks are OK with it, as long as they know what they’re getting going in. So many soul acts from the 70s have had to replace most of their members, and most of them have kept their sound alive. But in terms of the Eagles, Henley doesn’t HAVE to be the only original member left, if he would follow his own advice, “Get Over It” and allow Don Felder (I know he’s not an actual original, but he’s close enough in terms of the part he’s played on most of their records) to take his rightful place back with the band. Now that Frey is gone for many years, what’s the point of carrying on a beef that denies the importance of someone who’s had such a big impact on the band’s sound from its early days? I don’t know what Bernie Leadon’s feelings about rejoining the band would be, as he was willing to participate in their anniversary tour, so he could be another possibility. Meisner from what we can tell from the Eagles Documentary had emotional problems for a long time but appeared to be essentially bullied out of the band by Frey. The bigger point is Henley appears now to like it this way, and I won’t embellish on what that means, but I believe when someone’s will, rather than circumstances determine a situation, it says a lot more about whether it’s the same axe.

    Reply this comment

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