Don Felder, guitarist, songwriter, author, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, recently brought the greatest hits of the Eagles to The Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville.
As a member of the Eagles, he contributed the melody for "Hotel California," one of the group's most popular songs. A few months ago, the compilation The Eagles "Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)" surpassed Michael Jackson's "Thriller" as the best-selling album of all time.
Felder's current tour features signature hits of the Eagles, and his solo work. He's also recorded and performed with other artists of many genres from The Bee Gees to Warren Zevon.
"Already Gone" and "One Of These Nights" opened his set with a one-two punch that connected with the crowd. Asking if anyone liked the blues, Felder talked about Stevie Ray Vaughan as one of the guitarists he admired. This was the calm before the storm, as Felder transitioned from Southern California rock to channel Vaughan with a blistering cover version of "Pride and Joy."
Felder's backing band included musicians who have worked with Pat Benatar, Richard Marx, and Whitesnake. Throughout the night, they delivered fan favorites like "Witchy Woman" and "Peaceful Easy Feeling" with authenticity and showed how cohesive and tight they were as a unit on deeper cuts like "Those Shoes."
If the stars line up, a song you never expected to hear might be part of the set list, which came in the form of Felder pulling out a solo gem with "Heavy Metal (Takin' A Ride)" from the soundtrack of the animated cult film classic "Heavy Metal."
There was also new material "Rock You," a musical journey connecting the dots of rock from decade to decade from Felder's latest release "American Rock 'N' Roll" (BMG). The album includes guest appearances by fellow guitar heroes Peter Frampton, Alex Lifeson, Slash, and Joe Satriani.
"Life In The Fast Lane" and "Take It Easy" rounded out the show and set the tone for the finale, the song I waited all night to hear, and the reason why I became interested in the Eagles.
As Felder strummed the strings of a radiant double necked guitar, the familiar yet haunting melody of "Hotel California" now made its presence known. As the song reached its climactic guitar solo, devotees in the audience celebrated with bobbing heads and enthusiastic fist pumps.
Felder's set had a unique energy that left the audience elated. He came back on stage for a few minutes to talk with concert goers, sign autographs, and take selfies!
Every concert seems to have its own vibe and something that makes it special. On this night it was Felder sharing stories about himself which give you some insight into who he is as a person. Felder reminisced about his humble beginnings in a small town, getting his first guitar and how he tried to figure out how to play it; being in a garage band with Stephen Stills, and teaching a very young aspiring musician named Tom Petty how to play guitar, all before Stills, Petty, or Felder achieved star status in the music business.
He also revealed the secret message a record producer scrawled into one of the vinyl 45 single releases from "Hotel California."
Someone that night shouted that we are lucky that Don kept at it and figured out how to play guitar, and I couldn't agree more! He's an artist who went from a second-hand guitar to Gibson naming two guitars after him.
Rodeo would like to say “thanks” to the following people for being super, awesome, and cool! Don Felder, Point Entertainment, and Brendan Carr Marketing Director The Colonial Theatre. For more about shows coming to the Colonial Theatre go to www.colonialtheatre.com.
Kid reviewer Rodeo Marie Hanson, age 13, of Fleetwood, contributes entertainment columns to Berks-Mont Newspapers.