By L. N. Harrison // Contributing Writer
Perhaps when the Eagles or their music are mentioned, electric guitars and drums are more readily called to mind than strings and double reeds.
Those who attended Windborne’s The Music of the Eagles with the Nashville Symphony at the Schermerhorn on Friday night, however, may be reconsidering this perception. Eagles’ fans know how complex some of the group’s songs can be, particularly in terms of the harmonies and the rhythms. The fact that much of the band’s discography is so well-known only adds to the importance of remaining true to the source material and keeping to the Eagle’s high caliber of performance.
Accompanied by the Grammy award-winning Nashville Symphony, the members of Windborne – Terry Brock (vocals), Glenn Delaune (vocals and guitar), John Hines (vocals), Dan Clemens (bass), Powell Randolph (drums), Eldon Sully (guitar/background vocals), and George Cintron (guitar/background vocals) – had no difficulty with achieving this feat.
The show began on a high note with “Heartache Tonight.”
An Eagles’ standard, the audience clapped and sang along as Brock belted out the lyrics with an accuracy and an all-or-nothing abandon that immediately called to mind performances of the song by the late Glenn Frey. From there the 19-song set list progressed through the Eagles’ greatest hits such as “Desperado,” “One of These Nights,” “Already Gone” and “Take It Easy” (written by Frey and Jackson Browne), as well as lesser known songs “Wasted Time,” “How Long” (written by J.D. Souther though frequently covered then recorded by the Eagles) and “Get Over It.”
Though some would find the concept of rock ‘n’ roll and symphony incongruous, the two-hour long concert proved otherwise. While the Eagles’ songs as recorded and performed live are considered masterpieces by many, the addition of a symphony turned out to be genius.
In adding the symphony, the intensity of songs such as “Witchy Woman” and “Already Gone” was only amplified, the beauty of “Best of My Love” and “Desperado” was made so much fuller, and the melancholy notes of the oboe as well as the soaring and full orchestra crescendos brought “Wasted Time” to new heights.
Of the truly well-done performances, two songs in particular stood out, not for the vocals or for the orchestra itself – though both were top-notch – but for the incredible talent of guitarists Cintron and Sully.
The first was “Funk 49” featuring Cintron who has done background vocals and guitar for Enrique Iglesias and performed on The Tonight Show and the American Music Awards. As overused as descriptors such as “awe-inspiring” and “spectacular” might be, Cintron’s playing was nothing short of this. His fingers zipped up and down the fretboard at a dizzying pace, the spiraling and wailing riffs executed with all the smoothness – and perhaps more – of Carlos Santana’s trademark solos. If there was one person in the audience who didn’t have to pick his or her jaw up off the floor, then I doubt that anything could ever reach that person’s lofty standards.
Even still, the finale of “Hotel California”is what truly brought down the house.
The intro spotlighted Sully, who picked his way through the winding notes of the much-beloved song with an effortlessness that even a seasoned session guitarist would envy. By the intense buildup at the end when Cintron and Delaune joined in, even the most enthusiastic and exacting of Eagles’ fans could have no complaint.
While the show opened with “Heartache Tonight,” the concert itself was anything but a reason for heartache. With the exceptional talent of Windborne and of the world-class Nashville Symphony, the only disappointment was that it eventually had to end.