The Eagles will play three inaugural concerts when the Forum, Los Angeles’ premier concert venue from the late 1960s until 1999, reopens in January.
The Eagles, who played multi-night runs at the arena in 1975, ’76 and ’79, will perform at the Forum Jan. 15, 17 and 18. They also used the venue, which will now hold 17,500 fans, in 2009 as a rehearsal space prior to their Long Road Out of Eden tour.
“The building is a grand dame of all these [arenas], the first of its kind,” Glenn Frey told Billboard Tuesday prior to a media event that included tours of the building currently under renovation. “It sounded great when we were rehearsing there. There’s something about it and I don’t [know] why it sounds the way it does.
“When we first played there, it looked cavernous. All the places (we played in the mid-’70s) appeared big. But I remember how good the Forum sounded and you can hear yourself.”
The Madison Square Garden Co. will eventually spend $100 million in its acquisition and remodeling of the Forum, which opened in 1967 and was sold to a church in 2000. During the presentations Tuesday, the audience of media and music industry professionals were reminded of how much the Forum was the cornerstone of popular music in L.A.: Led Zeppelin played there 16 times; footage was shown of the Who in ’73, the Rolling Stones in ’75 and Queen in ’77; chatter throughout the crowd included memories of AC/DC, David Bowie, Neil Young, Morrissey and Paul Simon.
Joe Walsh noted that most of the time he sees the Forum is from an airplane while landing at LAX.
“It’s been in such a state of disrepair and that make me sad,” said the guitarist. Walsh first played the venue with the James Gang opening for the Steve Miller Band. “Southern California has a bad habit of tearing down historic things and building silly things of concrete. As a musician, to everybody involved, thank you for providing a real place to play in L.A.”
The Eagles have opened their fair share of buildings recently, among them Nokia Theater in L.A. on a double bill with the Dixie Chicks, the KFC Yum Center in Louisville, Ky., and American Airlines Center in Dallas.
When they take the stage Jan. 15, it will be in the largest venue in the U.S. built specifically for music and live entertainment. That means no luxury suites, no scoreboards or setting up while they get rid of the ice rink from the hockey game the night before — and it’s still cold when the band takes the stage.
“We’re really playing so many places where it’s frustrating for one reason or another,” Walsh said. “This makes me so happy.”