Don Henley – Xcel Energy Center – St Paul MN – June 19th 2017

Xcel Energy Center and 92 KQRS present Don Henley.

Opening the show was JD & the Straight Shot. The band consists of several musicians who have toured with some of the best, bassist Byron House (Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton) and violinist/fiddler Erin Slaver (Martina McBride, Rod Stewart). There sound is more a southern blues bar band.

They are in support of their latest release Ballyhoo an all acoustic record.

The band has a shorter set due to the opening sloth. They did a few off their earlier release and a few from the new album.

As more of a hard rock guy they were a little light for my taste but are fantastic musicians at what they do. The back up singers and fiddle player were amazing.

Any local fan of Mick Sterling or Dr Mobo’s Combos would like them. Hope fully next time around we can see them in a intimate setting.

Any fan of Henley should check them out.

Setlist – Glide – Redemption Train – Nature’s Way – Perdition – Violet’s Song – Moonlight – Ballyhoo – Better Find A Church – Let It Roll

Kyle Hansen

Don Henley

It’s easy to go into a concert and do a review of an artist that you like. Don Henley is one of those artists for me. Although I must admit I didn’t start out as an Eagles fan when I was a kid. I didn’t understand them but have grown to love them over the last 20 years or so.

One of the things he said was that he’s going to take you on a trip through time in his performance. He did absolutely that. I don’t know if he left anything out. The only thing I could say that he missed was “Long Run” but I’m not surprised that he passed on that. The first song he did was “Seven Bridges Road”. I know that’s technically not an Eagles song but at the same time he completely had me sucked in.

To say that the musical presentation was perfect, would be an understatement. Don Henley brought quite a large group of musicians with him to present the music. As to be expected all of them were incredible.

I really like the set list but I knew going in that I would because I am also a fan of his solo stuff. He did several songs off of his latest release “Cass County” which I think is some of his strongest working years. The gals he had singing with him to cover the parts from that album along with the background vocals for the other songs were exceptional. It didn’t matter to me which songs he played off the new record, just that he would. I think the highlight of the new material was the song that he originally did with Martina McBride titled “That Old Flame”.

I could tell at some points of the show he was starting to struggle a bit with his vocals but all in all he was right on. A few of the surprises for the evening was his rearrangement of The Eagles song “Witchy Woman”. And that they decided to do the Tears For Fears hit “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”. He didn’t really say why they were doing the song other than he said to the audience “We are doing this song for therapy”. The crowd really responded to the song though so he made the right choice. I was expecting a lot of political comments but thankfully he kept those to himself. I don’t much care what side of the fence you stand on but I come to hear the music not the political rhetoric. To me getting away from that for a few hours is exactly why I go to concerts.

The crowd was noticeably light. This is what they call a lower bowl show where the none of the tickets on the upper level were sold. I was surprised at the amount of open seats throughout the arena and if I had to guess, there were probably 8000 people there if that. A stark contrast from two nights earlier when I went to see the Iron Maiden show and they were practically turning people away outside.

Overall he delivered exactly what I hope that he would, a 2+ hour show filled with wonderful music. I highly recommend if you are a fan of Don Henley or The Eagles, to pick up a copy of “Cass County”. It truly is a great record and it’s important to support new music by artists that you love.

The only thing I don’t understand about Don Henley is when we were walking to our seats, we were stopped by a security guard who told us “Make sure you don’t take any video tonight or live stream. If they catch you, they will probably throw you out of the show”. I don’t understand that frame of thought. I watched them walk around all evening telling a bunch of middle-age people to stop doing that. Part of the fun of going to a concert is creating memories. Some people do that by taking a video or a photo. At the end of the day it doesn’t hurt anything. I’ve been going to concerts for 42 years and that’s the first time anyone has ever said that to me. I know there are a few other artists that feel the same way but I just don’t get it. Perhaps Don Henley know something about the music business that the fans don’t see.

Review by Tommy Sommers