Don Felder: An Evening at the Hotel California

Featured Image courtesy of Matt Bishop for SugarHouse Casino

Review By: Micheal Poiesz

Seeing Don Felder and his bandmates perform in the SugarHouse Casino’s small Event Center on Sunday May 29, was a welcome change from when I last saw him at the Susquehanna Bank Center. The casino’s black box theater, along with Felder’s personable attitude, made for an intimate and engaging evening.

Since Felder was instrumental in writing many of the songs for his former band, The Eagles, his set list consisted of more Eagles songs than songs from his latest hit album, Road to Forever. He kicked off the night with “Already Gone,” his voice projecting clearly over his guitar and bandmates. Considering I couldn’t hear him too well at SBC, I was relieved SugarHouse had good sound quality. This was especially apparent when he and his bandmates performed an old warmup song he used to do called “Seven Bridges Road.” Their harmonizing was nothing short of amazing, and instantly became one of the show’s highlights.

Don Felder Performs at SugarHouse Casino3

Courtesy of Matt Bishop for SugarHouse Casino

While of course the music is an integral part of any show, what truly separates the good shows from the phenomenal ones, for me, are the musician’s attitude and interaction with the crowd. Seeing Felder still smiling on stage, goofing around with his bandmates, and cracking jokes after 50 plus years of playing, brought the show to life. Whenever he referred to his former band, he’d make quips like “You might have heard of them, the Seagulls” or “the Beagles,” never failing to get a roar of laughter from the crowd. Along with his lighthearted humor, he shared a few stories from his tours with the Eagles and where he found inspiration for songs like “Tequila Sunrise.”

Towards the end of the show, he invited the crowd to the front of the stage to sing and dance to “Long Run.” Hesitant at first, people slowly trickled to the stage. Two songs later, during “Life in the Fast Lane,” the stage was mobbed with people, including myself and my friend. Felder, the bassist Shem von Schroeck, and other guitarist, Greg Suran, channeled the crowd’s excitement and energy, passionately performing and striding the stage. For the final song, Felder’s stagehand delivered his old double neck guitar, which could only mean one thing: it was time for “Hotel California.” When he began that familiar, melodic guitar solo, it instantly whisked the audience back to the seventies. When they finished, Felder ran around high-fiving the people surrounding the stage while the rest of the audience endlessly cheered and applauded, all the while chanting for an encore.

From the venue to the performance, the whole concert quickly became one of my most favorite and memorable experiences. SugarHouse’s employees were friendly and helpful, and the sound and lighting was well done. Felder and his band gave a remarkable show, really connecting with the audience and leaving them satisfied. I urge anyone who loves the Eagles or classic rock in general to see Don Felder while he is still performing; his tickets are affordable and worth every cent.

Don Felder Performs at SugarHouse Casino2

Courtesy of Matt Bishop for SugarHouse Casino

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