Photo: Martine Ehrenclou
By Martine Ehrenclou
A good friend invited me to see Don Felder, Styx and REO Speedwagon for the “United We Rock” concert at the Greek Theater, June 24, 2017. This has become our ritual, taking each other to concerts for our birthdays. I wanted to see Don Felder, remembered a few good songs by Styx, but wasn’t that familiar with REO Speedwagon. But I knew the evening of live music would be a blast.
Off we went to the Greek Theater, an outdoor venue in Los Angeles. Our good seats surprised us both, as did the trail-blazing performances and quality musicianship. There’s something special about watching certain bands that have been around a long time. Some are clearly rooted in the music, in partnership with each other on stage, their musical skills honed.
Don Felder, long time member of the Eagles, opened the show. He was the guitarist for the Eagles for 27 years and co-wrote “Hotel California,” “Victim of Love,” and “Those Shoes,” among others.
Felder and his band put on a phenomenal show, performing ten songs, eight of which were Eagles’ tunes. A true entertainer and a guitarist not to be missed, Felder was in his element on stage. Beginning with “Already Gone” and “One of these Nights,” Felder then launched into such classics as “Witchy Woman,” and “The Long Run.” The band consists of Shem Von Schreck (bass and vocals,) Stevie Distanislao (drums and vocals,) Timothy Drury (keys and vocals,) and Greg Suran (guitar and vocals.)
Tommy Shaw from Styx joined Felder on stage with his Strat to play guitar and sing, “Take it Easy.” Felder and Shaw performed side by side, shortly moving onto the extended platform from the stage in the midst of the audience. They were having such a good time, you couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement. “Heartache Tonight” followed, showcasing Felder on guitar. An impressive performance.
Felder’s vocals were good, and the quality hadn’t faded with age. More than once though, I did feel the loss of Glenn Frey, his ghost ever present on songs such as “Take It Easy,” “Heartache Tonight,” and “Already Gone.”
When Felder brought out the double neck guitar, the crowd went crazy, including yours truly. We all knew what was coming–“Hotel California” and that iconic guitar solo. This was two minutes to remember, a moment of impact to see Don Felder, the originator of the solo, playing it himself. Tremendous comes to mind. See video below.
Dave Amato, guitarist for REO Speedwagon, an amazing player in his own right, joined Felder on the solo. It hit me then that we were witnessing history that night. The crowd knew it too and roared with appreciation for Felder and Mato. A memorable set indeed.