Top-Notch Tribute

Imagine it is the early 1970s and you turn on the radio to hear, for the very first time, “Take It Easy,” “Tequila Sunrise,” or “Best of My Love.” These Eagles classics took hold and propelled the band to superstardom across the decade, making the group a fan favorite for years to come.

Aaron Broering, founder of Eagles tribute band Desperado, was fortunate to grow up with Eagles music and fell in love with their sound.

“I was born in 1972, which is the year the band formed, so my lifespan has kind of coincided with their music,” Broering said. “When I was a kid in 1975, there were three songs on the radio that I remember distinctly and it was ‘Rhiannon’ by Fleetwood Mac, ‘Fly Like an Eagle’ by Steve Miller and it was ‘Lyin’ Eyes’ by the Eagles. So that’s something that I always remembered, unbeknownst to me at that time I would ever become a musician or pursue it, but once I knew that’s what I wanted to do, that seemed to be the most gravitational body of music that I went toward.”

Broering grew from a music fan into a musician himself and practiced playing Eagles music throughout college.

“I kind of loved it so much that I locked myself away and just practiced faithfully, just kind of making myself as familiar as possible with the music,” Broering said. “In fact even through college I remember putting little snippets of their songs into my classical works that I had to turn in for a grade.”

It was right after college that an Eagles tribute band fell into the works.

“When I got out of college I responded to an ad in the paper, ‘Touring Eagles tribute band seeks guitarist, keyboardist and singer,’’ Broering said. “It happened to be the band Hotel California and right out of college I jumped on board with them, nailed the audition and joined the circuit.”

After playing with that band for a while, Broering realized something wasn’t quite working for him.

“I discovered that I didn’t really care for the way that they were playing the songs,” he said. “I ended up starting Desperado in 2002 and I just wanted to do it the right way. Most importantly, I wanted to play the songs accurately and do it due diligence and I have not looked back since. I now believe that I’ve got a roster of guys who really care and are sincere about how they should be played and delivered.”

The current lineup for Desperado is Broering (lead vocals, lead guitar, keys), Ricky Lewis (lead vocals, lead guitar), Jim Alexander (lead vocals, lead guitar, keys), Richie Lewis (drums, lead vocals) and Brian Nussle (lead vocals, bass guitar).

Doing the songs justice, Desperado has been touring the country for nearly 20 years, picking up fans wherever they go. Their attention to detail and ability to perform them just like the originals keeps crowds coming back.

“I think people love those songs and they want to hear the music. Those songs take them back and remind them of their life. Those are kind of snapshots of their lives,” Broering said. “When you play them the way that they’re used to hearing them on their turntable, I think that takes them back. Not only are those songs awesome and they have a wonderful lasting quality to them, but I think it says something about the way we are playing them.”

The audience will get to hear their favorite songs at every performance during Desperado’s stint at the Riverside Resort, Aug. 11-14.

“At the Riverside, we play for 90 minutes every night and within that 90 minutes — the Eagles had five No. 1 hits which was ‘Best of my Love,’ ‘One of These Nights,’ ‘Hotel California,’ ‘New Kid in Town,’ ‘Heartache Tonight’ — we get all five of those in the set list,” Broering said. “‘Lyin’ Eyes’ won a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Group in 1975, we do that one. ‘Take it to the Limit’ was the longest charting Eagles single that they ever had — we’re playing that one as well. It spans the whole lifespan of what they were in the ‘70s and we even give you one new song, which is ‘Get Over It,’ that came off of their ‘Hell Freezes Over’ album in 1994.”

Every song in the lineup is a classic, but there are a few which evoke a strong reaction from the crowd every time.

“I can tell you ‘Hotel California’ for sure gets the best response,” Broering said. “’Desperado’ gets a great response and I also play a little piano ditty at the beginning of that, which helps disguise that one before we actually unleash it. ‘One of These Nights’ gets a good one. But the best part about it is you just crack down the list and one after another you just hear them react.”

It’s difficult for the audience and band members alike to pick a favorite because of the Eagles’ amazing repertoire. For Broering, his pick is a song that not just anybody can replicate, but Desperado does it beautifully.

“Man I still think to this day ‘New Kid in Town,’ by far, is the measurement of a good Eagles band because it’s such a difficult song to play,” he said. “It’s a very beautiful arrangement and a very difficult vocal arrangement in that song. It’s a ‘handle with care’ kind of song, so many bands either can’t do it, don’t do it or won’t even try. But the fact that this band does, to me, puts us a cut above a lot of the rest.”

Fans at the Riverside have grown accustomed to this top-notch tribute, as Desperado returns to Laughlin nearly every year for a performance.

“We’ve been there since 2006 and we always look forward to getting out there and playing for nice people that love the music,” Broering said. “We’re blessed to do this, honored to do this. It’s really great to be playing these songs that really rivals the original artist. And I think that’s something that we are really grateful for, that we can sound so close to the real deal because imitation is the highest form of flattery. When people go, ‘Oh my god you sound just like them!’ That’s what we’re doing it for.”