Illegal Eagles Review – Floral Pavilion, New Brighton

Illegal Eagles
Image Source: ATG

Show: The Illegal Eagles
Location: Floral Pavilion, New Brighton
Date: Thursday October 21 2021
Running Time: 140 Minutes
Age Rating: 14+

This is our theatre review for The Illegal Eagles at New Brighton’s Floral Pavilion .So, let’s take a look at the The Illegal Eagles.

The Illegal Eagles

Synopsis

Celebrating the music of the legendary US west coast country rock band, The Illegal Eagles bring their trademark musical prowess, acute attention to detail and incredible showmanship to every performance.

Analysis

Drums behind Perspex screening up on the riser, splitting centre with a keyboard. Four microphone stands spaced evenly in front, atmospheric lighting, all overseen by a giant banner of a Bald Eagle.

There’s no way of not knowing what we’re here to see. On this cold and blustery October evening in New Brighton, The Floral Pavilion is packed to the rafters and there’s a tinge of anticipation as the minutes slowly creep past the half seven start time. There’s a sense of delaying the pleasure. I don’t mind. I’ve heard great things about the Illegal Eagles. I’m ready and I don’t mind sitting here, drinking it all in for a couple minutes longer.

First Half

Lights go out, the crowd mummers to itself, and there in the darkness it begins. The single strum of a ringing out acoustic guitar and the smooth, warm acapella blending of the opening bars to Seven Bridges Road. Just like the original. Just how I would imagine it sounded back in the 70s at a live concert. No belting. No rush. Taking its time. That unmistakable chord-like harmony washing over you. It’s like a familiar hug. We all feel it. We’re in good hands.

Any tribute act must make a decision right at its concept. Of course you need to sound like them, but between the songs are you impersonating or celebrating? So many go the impersonation route and very rarely does it come off. The Illegal Eagles thankfully celebrate the works of the Eagles and we’re so thankful for it. As a result, in addition to the songs, we’re taught about the music, how certain songs came about and how the band was formed. I’m so appreciative for this as although I personally know a lot of Eagles hits, I’m pretty ignorant as to the band itself. Or at least I was before tonight. They’re not preachy though, just matter of fact with an air of excitement and pride in sharing their knowledge with us.

Soundtrack

We move on to Take It Easy and the crowd are in full voice already. Christian Phillips, who incidentally has the voice of an angel, then introduces Tequila Sunrise. A great back story and learning of these new (to me) facts about the songs really does add to my enjoyment. The rest of the first half whips by in a frenzy. These lads are so very good. I mean, Witchy WomanOne Of These NightsNew Kid In TownPeaceful Easy Feeling all performed so effortlessly by them.

Each introduced by a different member of the band. It’s a slick production and one where you feel safe. There’s never a worry. You just sit back and have it happen in front of you. Pretty Maids All In A Row is an album track I’m pretty sure I heard for the first time tonight and yet, loading it up on Spotify on my drive home, I couldn’t tell the difference.

We head into the break with Boys Of Summer and just wow! The layering of the guitars is just stunning. You know when a band step out at the beginning of a set and you’re like, ‘Right, they’re rhythm guitar, that one’s on bass and that’s the lead guitarist…’ and then all of a sudden, you’ve got three lead guitars and one has jumped up on the keyboard? Yeah, me neither. So much talent. Not least the stagehand with so many guitars he’s having to run out and swap with all of them. All apart from Trevor Newnham on bass, that is.

Tonight, he’s one with that bass and he doesn’t miss a beat. Always there, laying the foundation. Tony Kiley also knows his place, like a caged animal on his throne behind the drums. He’s brilliant. Rock steady and apparently the first of the band to receive his second jab this year alluding to his age. Not that you could tell. He’s clearly more than a match for the whippersnappers down stage of him.

Second Half

The second half begins and the unmistakable lead guitar of Joe Walsh’s Life’s Been Good is kicking us off. Greg Webb takes the difficult vocal and nails it beautifully. From there, we’re through Wasting Time, Lying EyesTake It To The Limit and Webb’s hauntingly beautiful vocal return for one of my favourite ballads of all time; Desperado. Everything has stopped and it’s just the music. ‘Don’t you draw the Queen of Diamonds Boy…’ literally brings goosebumps. It’s stunning. Life In The Fast Lane is the false tab with the obligatory encore of Hotel California to close the evening.

Descriptors such as ‘slick’ and ‘tight’ are often used to describe a well organised and finely tuned band. These guys are on another level. Mike Baker floats throughout the performance as he’s carried along with the music. Drawing the eye and the ear so many times. Garreth Hicklin consistently pleases from beautiful vocal, to guitar, mandolin, keys and finally 12-string.

I can’t stress just how good the vocals are. Of course, the musicianship is just flawless but the voices on these lads are just so good. There’s no over-singing, no one person hogging the limelight. It’s that beautiful, warm, blended, Californian harmony. You can almost hear the smile.

Summary

Throughout the whole evening you can see that beneath everything, these lads just get on. There’s frequent laughs, banter and tomfoolery and yet never taking away from the performance. The overriding feeling of this evening is appreciation. Each of them values the other. Always showing and allowing recognition for a quality solo or vocal. It’s one big ‘love-in’ and one I’m so glad I was there to share.

Notes

Target Audience: 14+
Content: Not likely to offend
Recommendation?: Yes

Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect

The Illegal Eagles Further Links

The Illegal Eagles are performing on a UK tour, for more information please click here.

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