23 July 2016, Greek Theater, Berkeley, CA
It’s actually hard to write about this concert in my usual reportage style. This was very emotional for me, seeing Don in person for the first time since Glenn died. At times I felt overwhelmed. Of course the performance was stunning; Don is rarely anything less. Last October in LA the show was mainly about his Cass County album. This time there were still six songs from that collection, beautifully finessed, intricately played, magnificently sung, and as I know the album much better now, I immersed myself in every word and every note. The other songs in the 23-song set were mainly from ’70s Eagles and ’80s Henley solo (The End of The Innocence album getting the most attention), highlights for me being “Sunset Grill”, “The Last Resort”, “Heart Of The Matter”, “How Bad Do You Want It”, “Boys Of Summer” and of course “Desperado”, which Don dedicated to Glenn, after acknowledging what a difficult year it has been and how much he has appreciated the love and support that has been out there.
In between the songs was wonderful repartee, with wit, charm and cynicism, humility and humanity, and an admission that he was glad his birthday was over but he enjoyed barbecue and birthday cake anyway.
The Greek Theatre in Berkeley is smaller and more intimate than I expected, a special place to see a special performance by such a great artist. The lighting was for the most part subtle with a lot of red, making for moody atmospheric images, exactly right for this lovely summer night.
I shed tears several times last night and again when thinking about it on the long drive home today. Long may Don record, perform, and make me smile and make me cry.
Don Henley tour dates and Cass County album info here: Don Henley website