In 1980, Don Henley was practically certain that Eagles would never reunite, famously telling a reporter that they would get back together "when hell freezes over."

In July of that year, the band came to a dramatic end at a show in Long Beach, California, where Don Felder and Glenn Frey butted heads so severely there was nearly a physical altercation. As Henley would succinctly put it to People in 1982: "1980 was a terrible year."

But over a decade later, the mood started to shift. In 1993, an Eagles tribute album, Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles, was released, featuring covers performed by various country acts. At the end of that year, Henley, Frey, Felder, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit all appeared in the video for Travis Tritt's cover of "Take It Easy," and plans were hatched for a reunion. In April of 1994, they filmed an MTV special, which resulted in the 11-track live album, Hell Freezes Over.

"For the record, we never broke up; we just took a 14-year vacation," Frey joked at that concert.

Watch Eagles Perform 'Life in the Fast Lane' for MTV in 1994

From there, Eagles decided to keep the train rolling, launching the Hell Freezes Over tour on May 27, 1994 in Irvine, California, a 30-minute drive from where the band imploded over a decade earlier.

"It's a relief," Frey said prior to the show. "You know, we've been rehearsing for so long and we've been playing for men who don't clap: our crew. So it's like, now we got paying customers. ... For some reason everyone has a wonderful calm right now. I think we're excited to get out and play. I'm actually not nervous yet."

Schmit used the same word that evening before the show: "I'll tell you, the mood is very calm. ... I think it'll get more aggressive as it gets closer to showtime, but everybody's about as ready as can be. We've worked really hard — really hard — six, seven day weeks for the last six weeks, maybe two months.

READ MORE: Underrated Eagles: The Most Overlooked Song From Each Album

"We've all gotten older and wiser," he continued. "Everybody's a lot clearer, let's say. ... We're not looking back, we're just focusing on what's ahead."

But, as Frey pointed out, this was just night one of an extensive tour, with dates lined up through October: "This is just the first of 66 games we gotta play this season. It's not the Super Bowl yet."

The evening's 28-song set list featured plenty of Eagles classics — "Hotel California," "Lyin' Eyes," "Life in the Fast Lane," etc. — as well as some solo selections, including but not limited to: Frey's "Silent Spring," Henley's "The Boys of Summer" and Walsh's "Life's Been Good." (A full set list can be viewed below.) At the end of it all, the band played not one but three encores.

Watch Eagles Leave Their 1994 Concert in Irvine, California

After the concert, Henley echoed the words Frey has used pre-show. "It's a relief," he said. "Because I don't think we'll be as nervous now. I was really fine until I got out there [laughs], and heard the roar."

Eagles would go on to play 160 shows over the course of 1994-1996, becoming one of the most lucrative tours in all of rock history.

"It's a good feeling to be up there with the guys," Henley said after that first show. "I think this is just going to get better as it goes on."

Eagles, 'Hell Freezes Over' Tour, 5/27/94, Set List:
1. "Hotel California"
2. "Victim of Love"
3. "New Kid in Town"
4. "Wasted Time"
5. "Pretty Maids All in a Row"
6. "The Girl From Yesterday"
7. "I Can't Tell You Why"
8. "Ordinary Average Guy" (Joe Walsh song)
9. "Lyin' Eyes"
10. 'One of These Nights"
11. "Silent Spring" (Glenn Frey song)
12. "Tequila Sunrise"
13. "Help Me Through the Night" (Joe Walsh song)
14. "The Heart of the Matter" (Don Henley song)
15. "Love Will Keep Us Alive"
16. "You Belong to the City" (Glenn Frey song)
17. "The Boys of Summer" (Don Henley song)
18. "Funk #49" (James Gang cover)
19. "Dirty Laundry" (Don Henley song)
20. "Life's Been Good" (Joe Walsh song)
21. "All She Wants to Do Is Dance" (Don Henley song)
22. "Heartache Tonight"
23. "Life in the Fast Lane"
Encore:
24. "Get Over It"
25. "Rocky Mountain Way" (Joe Walsh song)
Encore 2:
26. "Already Gone" (Robb Strandlund cover)
27. "Desperado"
Encore 3:
28. "Take It Easy"

Eagles Albums Ranked

The Eagles have been rightly praised for their canny combining of Glenn Frey’s city-slicker R&B with Don Henley’s country-fried rockabilly. But which LP goes this distance?

Gallery Credit: Nick DeRiso

 

 

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