Don Felder

October 13, 2012

City Winery

New York, NY

Review by Ralph Greco, Jr.

There are just those musicians that I am thrilled to see live, not only because of their oeuvre but because they simply don’t tour very often. In the case of ex-Eagles guitarist Don Felder, who played City Winery in New York, a comfortable ‘woodsy’ place, perfect for this kind of a show. Catching the co-writer of “Hotel California” backed by his crackerjack four-piece band was a real rare treat indeed.

Assuming he would, Felder relied heavily on Eagles’ tunes in his 90-minute set opening with probably the most famous one, “Hotel California,” then dipping into rarities like the vocally intensive “Seven Bridges Road” (showcasing the prowess of every member of his band), a rousing “Those Shoes” (with talk box), and a blistering “Life In The Fast Lane,” among other hits.

Where he might have been lacking vocally (lots of the Eagles tunes were originally sung by Don Henley or guitarist Glenn Frey), what I was reminded of was how distinctive Felder’s lead playing is, especially his tone and economy of notes. He played a few from Road To Forever, his first new solo album in over a decade, like the rocking “Girls In Black” and elegant “I Believe In You.” Felder also rolled my personal favorite of his solo stuff, the blistering “Heavy Metal.”

Having read the guitarist’s book Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles, I learned the ins and outs of what happened between him and his ex-Eagles band mates (from his point of view, of course). After seeing an amazing acoustic version of “Hotel California” many years ago and this show in New York City, it was made abundantly clear to me that not only is Felder supremely talented and a big part of the Eagles’ sound and therefore their success; he still has the chops and a good working vocal to serves his new songs as well.

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