Rain can’t stop the Eagles and friends from soaring in Foxboro

A review of the Eagles, Dixie Chicks and Keith Urban at Gillette Stadium on June 12, 2010

, Editor-in-Chief

It was a rainy and dreary day in Foxboro on Saturday night but not even the dismal weather could stop the crowd at Gillette Stadium from having a good time with the legendary American rockers the Eagles. Of course, with a bill that also featured country favorites Dixie Chicks and Keith Urban, getting wet at one of the summer’s most anticipated shows was well worth it for the crowd that filled the two lower bowls.

Starting their headlining set with “Seven Bridges Road”, the stage was darkened with only members Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt illuminated. With their more expansive backing band in tow, the Eagles continued with “How Long”, the lead single and only song played on the night from their latest album, 2007’s Long Road out of Eden. What followed was a set that was simply a hit parade, filled with greatest hits from the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers and standouts from some of the members’ solo careers.

“Hello New England, nice night if you’re a duck!,” cracked Frey as the band launched into “Take It To The Limit.” Just as the rain continued to come down, so did the hits: “Hotel California”, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”, “I Can’t Tell You Why”, “Witchy Woman” and “Lyin’ Eyes”. There were also the solo hits as Henley stepped up to sing “The Boys of Summer” and “Dirty Laundry” while Walsh delivered “Walk Away”, “Life’s Been Good” and “Funk #49.”

It’s no secret that the band is getting older but there is no doubt the band still has the chops to play. The harmonies remain nearly perfect, the vocals are strong (though a little raspier), and Walsh still wows the crowd with exciting solos. They’re backed by a stellar 8-piece band that featured drummer and Wayland native Scott Crago, who was given a roaring hometown welcome from the crowd during the band’s introductions by Frey.

The Eagles closed out the main set with “Heartache Tonight” and “Life in the Fast Lane” before returning for a three-song encore to complete their two-hour set.  It began with “Take It Easy”, continued with Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way”, and finished with another vocal standout in “Desperado.”

Prior to the Eagles, the Dixie Chicks delivered just their third show since returning from a four-year hiatus. Sporting a new hairdo (shaved), Natalie Maines led the chicks and their backing band on stage, But before they could start, Maines pulled off the heels and went barefoot (“no need to give CMT something to report on”) as they kicked into “Wide Open Spaces.” The group was a little slow with some expected rust to start. However, as the set progressed from “Truth No. 2” through “The Long Way Around” and a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”, they quickly found themselves back into the swing of things. The harmonies were lush and sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire excelled on the banjo and fiddle respectively.

“Sin Wagon” was dedicated to one of the band’s most unlikely of celebrity fans, basketball great Charles Barkley, who stood in the front row. Another surprising moment came with the group’s cover of “Hey, Soul Sister”, the current smash hit from pop-rockers Train. The Chicks followed with a lively take on the crowd favorite “Long Time Gone” before a forgettable “Easy Silence”. The clear highlight of the set was “Not Ready to Make Nice”. Maines absolutely nailed the high-range vocals with passion and brought the crowd to their feet with roaring applause. The trio closed their set with the summery “Ready To Run” and “Goodbye Earl”.

When country superstar Keith Urban is bumped to the third slot, you know the bill is pretty extraordinary. Despite the earlier set time than normal, Urban delivered a thrilling set in the rain. “Come on Boston, it’s only a little rain,” he declared after opening the show with “Kiss A Girl.” The crowd needed no provoking, and happily joined in for sing-alongs of crowd favorites “Days Go By” and “Sweet Thing.” The ten-song set was well-balanced with fast tempos and ballads, both of which often featured Urban’s impressive fretwork.

Following a heartfelt take on “You’ll Think of Me,” the Aussie took time to introduce his backing band. In customary fashion for Urban, he let guitarist Brian Nutter and bassist Jerry Flowers take the microphone to sing bits of songs on their own. Nutter impressed with strong vocals on “Open Arms” but Flowers got the crowd laughing with a fitting take on Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine”. Urban walked through the crowd for “You Look Good In My Shirt” before closing the shortened opening set with the upbeat “Somebody Like You.”

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