The Illegal Eagles, Gig Review. Empire Theatre, Liverpool. (2017).

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

The Illegal Eagles, Liverpool Empire Theatre, June 2017. Photograph by Ian D. Hall.

There are times in life when you cry over a fallen hero, a family member who did something pretty amazing with their life or was just selfless in making sure that yours was not shrouded in pity and the bleak, a conqueror of the stage who you saw perform without mercy and who never knew you were there in shadows being moved by the simple raised eyebrow or the manner of their walk, the musician to whom The Long Road out of Eden was not just lived but taken to heart; it is O.K. to cry over a fallen hero, for it shows the effect they had on shaping your life.

For the much loved and admired Glenn Frey the road has been too long for fans of the Eagles, arguably one of the all time greats of American music, the thought of new music without one of their founder members perhaps too difficult to contemplate for now, for fan and band member alike, so the music stays in the mind only, it resonates and fills the blank spots and reminds audiences, especially British ones who were at least able to see their hero perform one last time before his untimely passing, just exactly what the Eagles brought to the radio, the record collection and the live arena.

Time though has been kind in the last 20 years, the rise of the covers supergroup, the tribute act and the homage have made sure the music never dies and in the Illegal Eagles, returning to Liverpool’s Empire Theatre once more, Time was bountiful and with hope.

The band, celebrating its 20th anniversary took to the stage and within a few songs it was possible to see through the darkened auditorium, the silver tears of grown men and women who perhaps for the first time since early last year, had a reason to shed the emotion of grieving; an act which some might suggest is wasted on the hero but to each their own and if it helps to love just that little bit more, then to cry is no sin and does not deserve ridicule.

For Greg Webb, Trev Newnham, Christian Philips, Tony Kiley, Gareth Hicklin and Phil Aldridge, tribute is a word that might get mixed up with compliment, whereas the capturing of the authentic sound of songs such as Too Busy Being Fabulous, Take It Easy, James Dean, I Dreamed There Was No War, Hotel California, New Kid In Town and Peaceful Easy Feeling all meant that the result was respect, the acknowledgement of fulsome praise and the truth behind the homage to a band to whom so many lives were changed, enhanced and made beautiful.

For the Illegal Eagles, this was at night at the Empire Theatre for which the respect shown to Glenn Frey all is life was possible to show appreciation too, a night that a hero was honoured by one of the finest acts of their genre around.

Ian D. Hall