Talons and Talents on Display in Morristown
A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch
Guitarist Don Felder is flying solo these days. Don is best known for his 27 years of work in The Eagles. Felder also co-wrote much of the music for the band including their biggest record Hotel California. His signature leads on songs such as "Life in the Fast Lane", "One of These Nights" and "New Kid In Town" are legendary.
The Don Felder Band spread their wings with a high-flying show in Morristown.
Felder has also played with an impressive list of artists ranging from Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Elton John, Michael Jackson and more. Don's departure from The Eagles in 2001 was ugly. It took years and a memoir to be free of that group's demons. His confessional book Heaven and Hell: My Life in The Eagles became a New York Times bestseller and salvation for Don who has moved on and is back to making music.
Felder's solo record Road To Forever (2012) follows Don on his personal journey of joys and sorrows including the end of his marriage and his time with The Eagles. Yet, it is a record of renewal - a return to Don's passion of creating, playing and writing music. Don Felder is touring in 2013. His itinerary included a stop at the Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) in Morristown, New Jersey on September 13, 2013.
It was a lucky Friday the 13th for Felder's fans as he opened with the haunting "Hotel California". Don handled lead vocals and guitar. He was armed with a double neck axe to soar on the first of a series of sizzling solos. This fan favorite received a standing ovation, one of many throughout this comprehensive, well coordinated career spanning set. Felder's show included plenty of tunes from his past along with present material.
Don was in good spirits as he greeted the crowd declaring, "lets get this party started". They continued with The Eagles' catalogue performing an animated "Already Gone". As Don proclaimed the words "I'm feelin' strong, I will sing this victory song", it seemed that the lyrics applied to himself as he claimed his rightful place back in the spotlight.
Don "Fingers" Felder played an impressive and powerful lead guitar all night long in New Jersey.
"One of These Nights" had some additional twists and turns making the familiar fresh. Don was backed by a talented team all with an impressive lists of credentials. Also, they were in the right vocal ranges to handle the trademark harmonies which are a key element of The Eagles' sound.
"Anyone here like the blues and Stevie Ray Vaughan," inquired Felder before they rocked on a potent version of "Pride and Joy". It was grand to see one guitar great "tip his hat" to another.
"God bless you, Stevie," said Don before mentioning Road To Forever his most recent record. They played "Wash Away" from the album. The song had classic rock elements, solid storytelling, harmonies and waves of whammy bar and effects that blended into Don's guitar solo.
"Victim of Love" was vibrant followed by "Peaceful Easy Feeling" that flowed on the acoustic guitars giving it that subtle country rock flavor. The sound throughout this show was clear, so much so that you could hear the wood block percussion on this piece. "Tequila Sunrise" was spiked with country and Mexican flavors that fit the descriptive narrative of the track.
"This next song we (The Eagles) use to do as a warm up and stopped performing it in the 70's but I really like it and I hope you do," shared Don as they showcased a stunning "Seven Bridges Road". Fans clapped along as two acoustic guitars carried the song with each singer taking a turn at lead vox for a few lines. Based on the reactions of the fans they liked it too with someone shouting out "one more time".
Scenes from Don Felders's performance in the historic city of Morristown, New Jersey.
"Those Shoes" was edgy and engaging with effects. Don explained that the next song was close to his heart as they played the bold "Girls In Black" from Road To Forever. It was a good time rock and roll song with swagger. "Heavy Metal (Takin' a Ride)" kept that mood going with the hard rock tones of Don's 80's classic.
Don returned to The Eagles with a lively "The Long Run" and a wicked "Witchy Women". Next up was a sing along for "Heartache Tonight" and finally "Life in the Fast Lane" that featured more fluid fret work along with a few alternative routes to rock the concert to a close. The band quickly returned for the encore which was an energized "Take It Easy".
After the show Don stayed on the stage for nearly 30 minutes to talk with fans and autograph albums. His crew also handed out any extra set lists so that people could have Felder sign them. We were impressed that this multiple Grammy award winning artist who has sold millions of records was taking time to chat and have his picture taken with folks.
Soundpress.net was also pleasantly surprised that we were given an opportunity to speak with Mr. Felder backstage. We were a bit nervous meeting the legendary Eagle but he quickly put us at ease. Don talked with us about the creative process of writing his best selling book and the album Road To Forever, along with some commentary about his tenure with The Eagles. Don answered our questions and before we departed he offered to pose for a photo with us. Felder was friendly and best of all he appears to be flying high on life these days.
Don Felder starts his show at the MAYO PAC with his Gibson double-neck and "Hotel California".
Opening for Don Felder was Lisa Bouchelle with Andre Virus Karkos. The two were armed with acoustics. They played an engaging set filled with strumming and storytelling. Lisa was pretty and personable as she chatted between tracks. Bouchelle opened with "Heaven on Credit" a love song with spiritual themes blended in.
"Only The Tequila Talking" was a duet that she had worked on with John Popper. It was a well thought out drinking song about insecurity and a shady guy along with a warning about the perils of Tequila. She introduced a brand new tune that will be on a forthcoming album. The song was inspired by watching a spider. Subtle strumming accented her observations including the idea that we are all potential "Prey".
Most appropriately, Lisa performed "Restore The Shore" an anthem that she wrote after Sandy. She shared that it just happened to work out that an All-Star cast came together on this tune. She joked that they could not make it but Lisa and Andre were passionate on this inspiring song. As Bouchelle finished up her fine set she declared that is was an honor to be here with Don Felder and we would have to agree!.
The MPAC continues to showcase a wide range of artists such as Don Felder. The theater is centrally located in Morristown surrounded by restaurants and shops. The MPAC's fall schedule is packed with events including musicians Jay Black, Tower of Power & War, The Waterboys, Celtic Thunder, Michael W Smith, Rufus Wainwright, Natalie Cole, Diana Krall, Patrizio Buanne, Alice Cooper and Gregg Allman.
The Don Felder Band: Don Felder - lead vocals, guitar / Frank Simes - guitar, vox / Scott Devours - drums, vox / Shem von Schroeck - bass, vox / Timothy Drury - keyboards, vox
DON FELDER SETLIST: Hotel California / Already Gone / One of These Nights / Pride and Joy / Wash Away / Victim of Love / Peaceful Easy Feeling / Tequila Sunrise / Seven Bridges Road / Those Shoes / Girls In Black / Heavy Metal (Takin' a Ride) / The Long Run / Witchy Woman / Heartache Tonight / Life in the Fast Lane / Encore / Take It Easy
New Jersey's own Lisa Bouchelle - who is helping "Restore the Shore" - kicked off the festivities.
(Originally Published on September 14, 2013)
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