28-song set arranged chronologically… Original guitarist Bernie Leadon plays entire first set… The legendary arena underwent a $100 million renovation and looks to compete with Staples Center and Nokia Theater
The Eagles reopened the refurbished Forum Wednesday night with a concert that emphasized the care and precision that went into their records in the 1970s, a perfect night of nostalgia for fans who care to remember the Forum when Jerry West was the Lakers star and "One of These Nights" was a hit on FM radio.
Arranging their set chronologically, as they have for the last year, Glenn Frey and Don Henley reinforced the story behind the documentary "History of the Eagles," their material beginning bare bones and folky and developing in complexity and sound. The emphasis, especially early on, was gently swaying country-rock made for clubs and backyard barbecues; on the other end, "Hotel California" provided a climactic finish not just in the scope of the song, but in its ability to engage the crowd of 13,700 and fill the arena with sound.
The approach, with original guitarist Bernie Leadon playing the entire first set, meant the Forum's acoustic improvements, part of a $100 million renovation, would be gradually tested and in ways the average 21st century show would not (clear harmonies, multiple acoustic guitars, no visual effects). Henley, sounding particularly strong, and Frey opened the show, dominated by mid-tempo numbers, as a duo and one member after another joins on ensuing songs. It sounded best when the band was working all of its signature elements -- four-voice harmonies, a gentle rhythm track with a smooth electric guitar solo -- and in need of sonic enhancement when the accompaniment was just two acoustic guitars.