ULTIMATE EAGLES, the world’s greatest EAGLES show is touring Australia for the very first time. The legendary sounds of The Eagles are faithfully and brilliantly recreated by six world class musicians in an umissable concert. ULTIMATE EAGLES are an international phenomenon. They have become a brand name in their own right who are revered by their peers, respected by the music industry and dearly loved by their massive and expanding fan base. In just four short years, they have performed to over 500,000 fans worldwide, clocking up 5 million YouTube hits along the way. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles spoke to Michael Lawrence ahead of their show in Adelaide.
It must be exciting to bring the Ultimate Eagles show to Australia for the first time?
Actually we couldn’t be any more excited and we really can’t wait!
Can you believe the interest in these shows in Australia?
We’re blown away, these are people’s memories, they are people’s nostalgia, and people want to remember a time when they were happy. The Eagles music is the soundtrack to so many people’s lives I think that they’ll be around a lot longer than anyone expected.
What attracted to you to the band and playing the music of The Eagles?
Well, the band are all professional musicians, they are all world class and they all have toured the world playing with the likes of Van Morrison, Queen, Journey and Iron Maiden. I think you know you can pick out a musicians interest when the music is clever, thought out, difficult to accomplish and is the sort of thing musicians are attracted to.
The Eagles and their arrangements and harmonies are so sublime that they are a challenge to recreate. That’s why we are all out there doing The Eagles in particular because it is such a rewarding experience to nail those five part harmonies and there is such a good vibe when you put yourself in The Eagles shoes and see the reaction to these songs, you can see the memories washing over their faces in Lyin’ Eyes or see the joy when you start Hotel California it is such a rewarding experience for us.
Do you say to the naysayers it is more than just a covers band or a carbon copy of The Eagles?
Yeah, we get that quite a lot you know. In the UK people have this image of tribute bands and I say that this is not a tribute show, it’s not a covers show, there’s no wigs, no cheesy lines. We attack The Eagles music with the same dedication that the London Symphony would attack Mozart for instance. They don’t change anything, don’t mess about and put their own stamp on it, they are just bringing this fantastic music live to people. Our aim is just to be as honest with it as possible and celebrate some of the best music in popular culture. I don’t like to think of ourselves as a covers or tribute band, we are celebrating as best we can the legend that is The Eagles.
Nostalgia is a wonderful thing and it must be pleasing that people still want to hear these songs?
It is mind blowing really and as I said we are all professional musicians, got our own albums and our projects and some of them are quite successful bands. When you get to delve a little bit in that magic that The Eagles brought to people’s lives, there is nothing like playing Take It Easy and watching people’s reactions. I remember where I was the first time I heard Take It Too The Limit sticks in mind with the fantastic falsetto notes at the end. I was left gob smacked and wanting to find more.
This music has had such an effect on people’s lives that too be part of a small little fraction of bringing back to people live is incredible that The Eagles are still popular. I think they are going to be for years and years. If we can keep the torch burning and as best as we can to make sure people keep hearing this fantastic music we would be just a little bit proud of ourselves.
We decided when started that we’d seen that a couple of us had played in theatre tribute shows and we decided that let’s not be arrogant about it and not do our own versions. Let’s get as close as humanly possibly as we can to these legends and we’ll see where it goes from there. The audiences enjoy the fact that we put such reverence and respect for the music that we wouldn’t dare do anything different that we need to as it is perfect as it is. We try our hardest to get it as close as we can with the voices we’ve got, that’s what we aim for. I don’t see the point trying to put our own stamp on it. It is as true to The Eagles as it is live!
As a band do you get excited when you uncover or hear a rare B-side or gem from the archives emerge and try to work that in to the show?
Sometimes yes, it is a tricky line to balance across. Our favourite records are the ones you don’t hear very often because as always on albums the really good ones are tacked on to the end. We were really lucky last year because we decided to play Hotel California the album across the continent and the one that stuck out Try And Love Again you don’t hear very often. The lyrics are fantastic, the harmonies are fantastic and all the duo guitar parts is the reason why you do it.
Any time you stick on an Eagles record magic happens, we love getting these songs and introducing them in to the set. We don’t get to do that very often because there are so many great hits as you can’t leave Hotel California out or Take It Easy out, you have to keep the core classics in. Every now and again we slip one of our favourites in just as a little something for ourselves.
So without playing for four or five hours there doesn’t seem to be much wriggle room with the set list?
Well, we could! I think we could easily do three or four hours of The Eagles music and no one gets bored but the theatres won’t let us unfortunately!
What’s your favourite Eagles album or favourite period for the band?
I think Hotel California is my favourite because everything is on it. There is a slightly rockier edge to it when Joe Walsh joined the band, then you’ve got Pretty Maids All In A Row and Wasted Time… what a song that is. The cleverness of that record is just mind blowing and the lyrics! Everyone has been in a relationship that has gone wrong and they had a certain way of framing your experiences in to one song as if it had been written about your life story. An incredible album!
Interview by Rob Lyon
Ultimate Eagles play the Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre on Friday 9 June. Tickets from Ticketek.