Soundchecks Music Reviews

Don Henley Live Inside Job

Director: Lawrence Jordan

Aviva DVD / VHS

LIVE INSIDE JOB
Don Henley

review by Richard G. Vander

A founding member of The Eagles (he was the drummer), Don Henley isn't your average Texan rock star. He has considerably more depth than that, I think. This comeback gig, designed to promote the recent album, Inside Job, (his first since The End Of The Innocence in 1989) rattles the cages of American experience, from the illusory satisfaction of the urban treadmill to the beckoning freeway's promise of odyssey, while also providing what Henley calls "a diary of sorts - a chronicle of the past 11 years."

To ensure a strong first impression, Henley kicks off this show (taped on 25th May 2000 in Dallas) with Dirty Laundry, and follows with a range of the brand new - Workin' It, Everything Is Different Now, My Thanksgiving, Taking You Home (a Grammy-nominated single), some older material like The Heart Of The Matter, The Boys Of Summer, Sunset Grill, and All She Wants To Do Is Dance, along with Eagles' classics - Desperado, The Long Run and (of course!) Hotel California. I'm not keen on the trombone arrangement on this last, but much of the rest sound pretty fine to me.

All that said, my favourite of the 17 tracks on this video is New York Minute, a zeitgeist tune if ever there was one! Overall, the song lyrics are insightful but, thankfully, not too reflexive, sentimental or obvious. A serious, direct talker who (quite reasonably) takes time to properly introduce all the new songs, Henley is a deliberate, accomplished performer on electric and classical guitars, rather than a spontaneous, exceptional one, and his large sprawling backing band is competent, but not outstanding. Some may find the songs presented here just a little bit corny, but Henley has an unquestionably great voice and, when it comes to middle-of-the-road rock, this surely does take some beating!


Edited by Tony Lee
for PIGASUS Press