Fans heading out to see the Eagles live in 2013 are in for a special treat this summer and fall, as the band confirmed on July 5 that original guitarist Bernie Leadon will re-join the current cast, which includes founding members Glenn Frey and Don Henley along with later additions Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit.
The news, which came just one day before the start of the History of the Eagles Live in Concert Tour, marked the first time that Leadon will perform live with the band since a two-song set at its Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1998. Leadon was a founding member of the Eagles—formed in Los Angeles in 1971—and was present on the band’s first four albums before departing in 1975.
Besides the special set in ‘98—which included all seven past and present members—the Eagles have had a well-established reputation of not allowing former members to make even the briefest of appearances at any tour dates. Leadon and fellow founding member Randy Meisner, who left in ’77, have not made a single appearance on tour with the group since leaving, making the return of Leadon an especially notable occasion for the legendary rock band.
The current North American tour is in support of “The History of the Eagles,” a two-part, three-hour documentary that spans the entire history of the group and provides rare behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. Part 1 covers the time period between the group’s inception in ’71 to its demise after “The Long Run” in 1980, while Part 2 details the band’s reunion in 1994 to the present day.
Much like the documentary, the supporting tour will run more or less chronologically, with different members taking the spotlight on certain songs. Besides playing their countless hits, such as “Take it Easy,” “Take it to the Limit,” and “Hotel California,” the band will play post-reunion material, songs from individual members’ solo careers, and lesser-known songs, such as some often overlooked tracks from “Desperado,” the group’s concept album about the Old West.
While Leadon’s inclusion in the tour will excite many fans of the six-time GRAMMY-winning group, former members Meisner and Don Felder are not scheduled to make any appearances. Meisner’s absence can be attributed to his recovery from a health issue, while Felder—co-writer of “Hotel California,” the band’s biggest hit—was terminated from the group in 2001.
After finishing up North American tour dates that will extend into November, the Eagles will continue on to play shows around the globe, a stretch Henley has been cited as saying will take nearly two years to complete due to such high demand. With the band members pushing 70, the venture may be the last of its scale for the group; however, with fellow veterans like the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, and Paul McCartney showing no signs of stopping, anything is possible. For now, you can catch the group at any number of upcoming performances throughout much of the year with Eagles concert tickets available in the marketplace.