Eagles play ‘Hotel California’ in full, the hits at Austin show

If you’re going to play a classic album in its entirety, and in sequence, you might as well have some fun with it. Thus the opening scene of Thursday’s performance at the Moody Center by the Eagles: A man in a black trench coat slowly strolls from stage left to stage right, where he encounters a record player and a copy of the band’s iconic 1977 LP “Hotel California. ” He places the album on the turntable, slips the needle into the groove, and voila! The curtain rises and the band kicks into the title track.

It’s a nice mix of campy staging and sincere nostalgic drama from one of the biggest bands in pop music history. And if any classic rock album warrants such start-to-finish treatment, it’s probably “Hotel California,” by far the biggest-selling of the band’s seven studio albums with more than 30 million sold worldwide.

Only the group’s iconic greatest-hits album has sold more, which explains why the rest of the concert (after a 20-minute intermission) surveyed almost all of the band’s top singles. When you’ve had as many hits as the Eagles, that amounts to a long show: The band took the stage at 8:10 pm and didn’t depart until 11:15 pm

Don Henley, the lone remaining founding member of the Eagles, performs May 19 at the Moody Center in Austin.  The Eagles play May 20 in Austin, too.

The “Hotel California” section was the highlight. Don Henley, the lone founding member left after the death of Glenn Frey in 2016, began on drums and lead vocals for the title track, which set the tone for a sterling performance of the album by an eight-piece touring band. The video backdrop cleverly cast California images as if seen from a hotel’s bay window, complete with windowpane grids.

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