Inglewood - Wednesday marked a pair of monumental returns: The Eagles in concert at the revamped iconic Forum, which officially opened its doors to the public after a $100 million renovation by the new operators, Madison Square Garden Co.
“It's about the only face lift I care for in Hollywood,” quipped Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey about the renovation.
The band had played at the Forum during many a sold-out nights in the late 1970s, and again in March 1980 when Roy Orbison was the opening act.
“We're very lucky to be here for the first night and I hope you guys come back and see a lot of people play here in the future,” Frey said.
Taking it easy, the Eagles trickled out on stage, starting with Don Henley, who reminisced about the band's beginnings, recording in the San Fernando Valley. Eventually the entire group — Bernie Leadon, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh and Frey — assembled on stage, often sitting on stools as they plucked their guitars, rotating singers to perform their biggest hits, from “Desperado,” to “Best of My Love” and “Hotel California.”
They also dedicated “Take It to the Limit” to original band member, Randy Meisner, who has been suffering from health setbacks for the last few years and could not join the band during the tour.
There were no fancy pyrotechnics nor a crazy light show, and only a few moments of a video on the venue's new jumbo screens that showed each member reminiscing about the band's rise to fame, but fans weren't complaining.
The LED lights sparkling on the ceiling gave the night an outdoor concert feel, which brought back fond memories for Scott and Patrice Lincoln of Pasadena.
“They sound perfect. I'm blown away,” said Patrice Lincoln.
“They sound way better than I remember,” her husband chimed in. “Maybe it's the acoustics of this place.”
Cyndy Bear, who traveled from Placentia to catch opening night at the Forum, said she definitely plans to be back for more.
“The sound is fantastic. Even though we were sitting on the sides we could hear everything, and the seating is great, too,” Bear said. “I could actually see everything going on.”
What fans inside the Forum could not see was what is touted as the world's largest vinyl LP of the Eagles' multi-platinum “Hotel California” record spinning on the roof as a tribute to the band.
The 407-foot diameter record was designed and built by Pop2Life, a Glendale-based marketing and promotion company. The record can be seen from helicopters and the airplanes flying into LAX through January.
“Sure, showtime back then was the Lakers with five guys on the floor, but tonight there's five guys on stage and they've been so entertaining,” said Scott Lincoln, pointing to the Eagles as the band returned for an encore. “It really is showtime again.”
Did you know...
The Eagles recorded three consecutive concerts at the Forum during its “One of These Nights” tour in October 1976.
The Eagles' “Hotel California” tour played at the Forum for three nights in October 1977, with the band backed by an orchestra.
The Eagles performed four sold-out nights — March 1-4, 1980 — during its “Long Run” tour, with Roy Orbison as an opening act.
Source: Madison Square Garden Co.
HISTORY OF THE EAGLES
The concert series at the Forum continues, with shows scheduled Jan. 17-18, Jan. 22 and Jan. 24-25.
For more information about upcoming events at the Forum, visit fabulousforum.com.
Follow Mariecar Mendoza on Twitter: @LANGMarMendoza