July 24, 2000
In an evening of heavy rain storms, birthday boy Don Henley proved that talent improves with age at a concert at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery on Saturday, July 22.
Playing to a sold-out crowd, Henley rocked for over two hours with a glitzy band and soulful back-up singers. A full brass section added to the well-rehearsed, professional performance, but the most impressive feature of the concert was the singer himself.
At 53 years old, Don Henley's voice has that smooth, husky resonance that comes with years of cigarettes and soul. He can still hit high notes at full throttle with perfect pitch after thirty-plus years in the music business. The smaller playing venue of the Winery gave the concert a "family" feel that connected the crowd well with Henley.
Henley started the concert with a pounding rendition of "Dirty Laundry" from his Eagles years, and then moved on to new songs from his recently released CD Inside Job, old favorites from Building the Perfect Beast and End of the Innocence and more crowd-pleasing Eagles songs. "Taking You Home" he dedicated to his children and loved ones, while "Nobody Else in the World But You" had a pulsating beat with strong percussion.
Looking around, it was not surprising to see lip-synching on every song by enthusiastic fans who seemed to know the new as well as Henley's old songs.
Debuting at number seven on the charts, Inside Job has the environmental, no-to-big-government/corporation themes Henley is known for.
"Right between Brittany Spears and N-Sync," said Henley about his #7 chart position. As the crowd booed, Henley's comment was "Please, they're only children and they have a lot of ---- to go through."
The playful spoof "They're Not Here, They're Not Coming" refers to aliens landing, and why they won't stay. "Workin' It" pounded; "All She Wants to Do Is Dance" put the crowd on their feet doing just that, and "Boys of Summer" came with a torrential downpour that had fans rocking. "The Heart of the Matter" and "End of the Innocence" were lovingly received by a grateful, quieting crowd.
All too soon came the encore with "Long Run," "Desperado," and the hauntingly lovely "Wasted Time."
Henley has shows in Portland and Vancouver to play. "He'll be back in September," said a breakdown roadie. Fans may not think that's soon enough.