Eagles Experience

Performing a tribute to one of the most iconic bands on the planet, like the Eagles, can be an overwhelming double-edged sword for even the best in the business.
For one thing, this particular band was known for its perfectly blended harmonies, its musicianship on multiple instruments and the occasional experimental work with unusual things like double-necked guitars a.k.a. “double mandolins” and “talk boxes.”
Then there was the extensive catalogue of timeless hit songs, albums that broke records — some of which still stand today — the enormous fan base, and a sound that often changed depending on the moods at the time.
Add to all of that after more than 40 years as a group, the Eagles continue to tour despite Glenn Frey’s passing a few years ago. While they lost the father-figure and founder of the group, they gained a son, Deacon Frey, and added singer-songwriter Vince Gill to the roster for a series of special appearances.
Tribute band Desperado has never varied from the theme of delivering an honest recreation of any Eagles’ song it performs, down to the last detail, guitar chord and vocal inflection. Because of that, this group has a fan base of its own, who know these guys are all about the human connection to the music, delivering it the way it was intended, when the songs were originally recorded in the ’70s.
The band has become a staple in the Riverside Resort’s Don’s Celebrity Theatre over the years.
Desperado knows how much Eagles’ fans love the music and how precise it has to be no matter what. To that end, the band is known throughout the land as the Premier Eagles Tribute Band. Desperado has earned the distinction of playing in showrooms all across the country. The strong five-part harmonies and instrumentally rich players easily nail all those songs and the often-changing Eagles’ sound.
Desperado has changes of its own for this return trip to Laughlin.
“We’ve got a new bass player and a new drummer,” said Aaron Broering, Desperado founder, lead singer and musician. “The drummer is actually our guitar player, Ricky Lewis’ son, Richard Lewis, and he’s really good.
“Joshua Jones is on bass and vocals. It’s just awesome because it’s nice to have two younger guys in the band. Chris Farmer, who’s played bass and vocals for many years with us, and still does. But for that week in Laughlin, he’ll be moving to what’s called the ‘utility chair,’ playing a secondary keyboard and playing electric and acoustic guitar. We all can move around, so it’s kind of nice to be able to do that. Whatever fills up the page, right?”
The sound is still the thing, the priority and the one thing that will never waver.
“To be honest, we say this all the time and the common critique is, ‘you guys just keep getting better and better.’ And, truthfully, this band you’re gonna see this week is just solid, solid, solid — great musicianship,” he said. “We’ve got it wired. It’s nice to just turn the key and go.
“We’ve had these guys for a little over a year now, and it’s just nice to finally get them dialed and styled and comfortable, where we’re just like, ‘Off we go,’ ” he added. ” So it’s been nice. Again it’s always fun to do these songs and everybody loves them but this summer it will be a different show.”
New faces and new voices keep the show and the music fresh. It has to be difficult singing the same songs over and over, yet making them sound like they are hot out of the box.
“One of the best things about having new personnel, if they really care and are sincere about it, and I will say that these two younger gentlemen are, they really have come in with some fresh ears,” Broering said. “We become jaded after 16 or 17 years — in my case especially — 20 years, counting Hotel California for three years and 17 years with Desperado doing this. And now 11 or 12 years at the Riverside, it’s like you can kind of get jaded and comfortable and stagnant with it. These guys come in with fresh ears and it really raised the bar. You know, it also helps to have veteran musicians like Chris, who has the ability to jump from bass guitar over to playing piano, and he’s a very accomplished piano player.
“I know what an honor it is for Ricky to get to play this catalogue of music with his son, being on the same stage and part of the same tour,” Broering added. “I’d say most parents don’t get the honor of doing that. They’re both really talented musicians, so we’re blessed and honored to have them. Ricky, Chris and I have been carrying this show for almost a decade now, so it’s nice we’re still relevant and people still think about us and what we’re doing for them.
“I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, without those vocal harmonies, we’ve got nothing,” he said. “We can be as great as we are on our own, but once we all step up and sing, that’s the best part of it. We’ve got all those harmonies in there. It’s all live and we take great pride in the fact that it’s all live.”
The show includes all the hits like “Hotel California,” “New Kid in Town,” “One of These Nights,” “Life in the Fast Lane” and more. There’s no denying the highlight of the show is that pin-dropping quiet moment when Broering performs the beautiful “Desperado.”
“People love the material and it’s not just a matter of ‘OK, great, I know this song,’ to them, but ‘oh, my God, that sounds exactly like it’s supposed to.’ That’s when they know it’s the real deal, and we take pride in that, too.”
The show also includes the colorful banter between the guys and tidbits of history about the songs.
“We like to tell little stories about the songs, and obviously it is a story and you’re unfolding a legacy as you’re playing the song, so it’s nice to interject little pertinent and prudent facts in regards to the songs,” Broering said. “That’s something I’ve always enjoyed, ’cause I’m kind of the band’s historian, too. The Eagles are such a case study of doing things right. That’s the one thing I enjoy and applaud about them — I’m not saying their taking things to the excess was right or modeled as being right — but I can say generally, commercially speaking, when it came to their craft, and music, they did it right.
“I know the Eagles are still out there doing their thing, with Vince Gill and Glenn Frey’s son, Deacon,” he said. “And I know that what we’re doing is a very, very special tribute to their music and still arguably one of the most accurate and spot-on to what they did in the most purest form.”


DESPERADO

Don’s Celebrity Theatre within the Riverside

Wednesday & Friday-Sunday, July 3, 5-7 (8 p.m.)

See “Showtimes” for ticket info