Eagles have hinted they may have played their last show in London after performing on a balmy evening in Hyde Park.
“So, this is British Summer Time,” drummer and vocalist Don Henley said to the throng of people on Sunday, as he flitted between singing from behind his kit – as on the band’s signature tune Hotel California – and playing guitar up front.
“In case we don’t pass this way again, I want to thank you all for embracing these songs, taking them into your hearts and your homes – we appreciate it,” he added, his voice full of emotion.
With the sky turning from blue to golden-pink during their 23-song set, Eagles were certainly treated to a fine example of a night out in the capital.
The remarkably crisp sound at the British Summer Time (BST) festival threatened to expose any flaws but the harmonies and guitar solos – with the audience treated to a fair few shreds, mostly at the hands of quick-picking Joe Walsh – floated and soared in equal measure over the 65,000-person crowd.
It proved the perfect backdrop for their parade of hits, encompassing a recording career that reached the 50-year mark this month.
The band’s voices and guitar playing has barely aged, with the touring members belying the fact they are mostly in their mid-70s.
Our stay at the Hotel California was unforgettable. Thank you Eagles and thank you to everyone who's joined us for the first weekend of American Express presents BST Hyde Park 🌴 pic.twitter.com/EmGkQCIGOT
— BST Hyde Park (@BSTHydePark) June 26, 2022
During a show of more than two hours, the band – completed by Timothy Schmit and Vince Gill – showcased a repertoire of songs stretching from Tequila Sunrise to Life In The Fast Lane in a run that few bands could match.
There were guest spots during the night, with Deacon Frey – son of Glenn Frey, one of the founding members of the band, who died in 2016 – taking to the stage for renditions of Peaceful Easy Feeling and crowd favourite Take It Easy.
Tennis ace John McEnroe even appeared to surprise the punters. In London for Wimbledon commentary duties, the superfan lined up to strum along to the final number of the night, Already Gone.
In between the sing-a-longs, Henley, who dedicated his own solo track Boys Of Summer to late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, explained that London holds a special place for Eagles after recording their first album at the famous Olympic Studios in the south-west of the city.
Tracking the debut during the 1972 miners’ strikes and subsequent coal shortage, the 74-year-old recalled: “We’d be in the middle of a take and the power would go off.”
The passion in how the crowd sang the words to Heartache Tonight, Desperado and Best Of My Love made it abundantly clear that, should this be their live swansong to the capital, Eagles have provided memories to last at least another five decades.
Former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant and US singer Alison Krauss, who are back recording and touring together, were a big draw as the direct support to the Eagles, exciting fans with their own songs and three Zepp numbers, including Rock And Roll and The Battle Of Evermore.
Those through the gates early caught Little Big Town, singer-songwriter Cam, country music breakout artist Morgan Wade, newcomer Patrick Droney and London folk-Americana group The Wandering Hearts.
Eagles are just one of a slew of huge acts to grace the Hyde Park stage this summer.
Next Sunday will see the Rolling Stones come back for a second headline show, having already played to a packed audience on Saturday, while Sir Elton John entertained fans on Friday.
Adele, Duran Duran and Pearl Jam will headline the remaining nights of the festival, which runs until July 10.