Don Felder

September 13, 2013
Mayo Performing Arts Center
Morristown, NJ

Review by Ralph Greco, Jr.

So I watched the documentary History of the Eagles and read former Eagles guitarist Don Felder’s book, Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001). But hearing Felder's guitar playing was a beautiful distraction from those rare, insipid Eagles moments, and seeing him again made me realize what I like so much about those classic tunes.

Brandishing a white double-neck guitar, Felder, looking fit and trim, smiled wide as he began his nearly two hour set with “Hotel California,” the guitarist's signature tune and his greatest contribution to the Eagles.

His vocals, as it would be throughout the night on Eagles songs he did not sing lead on, was competent but his lead guitar playing gave me goose bumps across my arms. Felder plays so precisely, with such intense feeling and an unmistakable tone.

We got “Already Gone” and “One Of These Nights,” but an early highlight was Felder covering Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride And Joy.” This is where he really cooked, showing off his blues- rock chops with perfect aplomb as he and his capable band (more about them all in a bit) chunked along perfectly beside his wailing.

The band’s backing vocals ability came to a fore on “Wash Away” from Felder’s most recent release Road To Forever. Then there was the harmony-laden “Seven Bridges Road,” which Felder and his band (even drummer Scott Devours, who tore it up with the Who over the summer) provided a full and rich vocal blend. Felder and his steady second guitarist Frank Simes traded acoustic riffs on this stomper that got the Mayo crowd to its feet.

Though a little light for my tastes, Felder and Simes also traded voice box and leads on “Those Shoes” and “Heavy Metal (Taken’ A Ride).” But most of the set centered on Eagles songs like “The Long Run,” “Witchy Woman,” “Heartache Tonight” and “Life In The Fast Lane,” the one song that Felder and Joe Walsh turned into an Eagles guitar-heavy rocker. The encore was “Take It Easy” to an already standing crowd.

The rest of Don Felder’s band need to be mentioned too: Shem von Schroeck on played bass and sang killer high vocals; Former Eagles touring keyboardist Timothy Drury was also along for the ride.

Don Felder’s second run through the area in 2013 saw some surprises, lots of Eagles, a great band and as always, fantastic playing from the man they call “Fingers,” for very good reason.

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