Early Flight (King Snake KS-023)
On Early Flight, King Snake collect together three of the earliest and most clear professionally shot footage of The Eagles. The two pro-shot concerts from Europe in 1973 have the distinction of being some of the earliest live recordings of the band in circulation (audience tapes from June 14th, 1972 Oklahoma City).
Their debut album The Eagles was released in the summer of 1972 producing several hit singles and almost instant recognition and success for the band. The follow up was recorded in England in early 1973. Desperado was issued in April, and the band followed with several promotional appearances in Europe including appearances on the BBC and on Dutch television. (It is somewhat ironic these albums, which would firmly classified as “southern country rock” were recorded in England).
(approx. 151 minutes) BBC In Concert, BBC Studios, London, England – May 4th, 1973
Train Leaves Here This Morning, Saturday Night, Peaceful Easy Feeling, Certain Kind of Fool, Earlybird, Witchy Woman, Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies / Take It Easy
The first third of the DVD contains the BBC In Concert telecast in excellent visual and audio quality. Some copies contain two additional tracks from the soundcheck, but King Snake have only the telecast. It is startling to see the band as a four piece with the emphasis upon guitarist Bernie Leadon and not on either Frey or Henley.
This was taped on March 20th and telecast on May 4th right after they finished recording their new album. For the first two songs the band are sitting on chair at the front of the stage and all are with acoustic guitars except bassist Meisner. Even Henley is holding a guitar, which he uses as a percussive instrument.
They start with “Train Leaves Here This Morning” from the first album with Leadon on lead vocals. Leadon then switches to mandolin for “Saturday Night,” first song from Desperado.
After “Peaceful Easy Feeling” Frey explains, “We got to do this outlaw album and we had eight songs finished and we needed two more. The idea Randy came up with was about how the guy became an outlaw or how he became a guitar player. Whatever…” before “A Certain Kind Of Fool.”
Since it’s one of their first television appearances (if not THE first) they are visibly stiff and nervous. But they lighten up as the show progresses. As Bernie is introducing “Witchy Woman” he tells the audience “You may have heard this last summer… around Halloween” to which Frey replies, “that ain’t summer. Anybody read the book Zelda about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife?”
The final song is their first single “Take It Easy.” A capella they sing the second verse of the traditional song “Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies” with a slight variation in the verb: “My daddy was a handsome devil / He had a chain five miles long / From every link a heart does dangle / for every maid he’s loved and wronged.”
Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, Los Angeles, CA – 1974
Peaceful Easy Feeling, Already Gone, Good Day In Hell, Silver Threads and Golden Needles (with Linda Ronstadt), Desperado (with Linda Ronstadt), It Doesn’t Matter Anymore, Midnight Flyer, Twenty-One, Ol’ 55, Your Bright Baby Blues, Looking Into You, James Dean, Doolin-Daulton / Desperado, Take It Easy
The taping for Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert occurred in the spring of 1974, right after the release of their third LP On The Border. This was their first album to be recorded in Los Angeles exclusively and the first as a five piece, having added another guitarist Don Felder.
They start with “Peaceful Easy Feeling” from the first album. Two new songs, the first single from the LP “Already Gone” and “Good Day In Hell” follow. Frey then mentions how important Linda Ronstadt is in the formation of the band, and she takes the lead on the next three songs. “Silver Threads And Golden Needles” is a cover from her 1969 LP Hand Sown … Home Grown. She next sings a cover of The Eagles’ “Desperado” followed by Buddy Holly’s “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” a song she sang on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert when she had her own slot.
Jackson Browne sings two songs backed by the band. It’s a testament to their confidence that they would share the stage on a syndicated show with two fellow artists. Browne, who co-wrote “Take It Easy,” was always a close friend and could be considered the fifth Eagle (sixth, seventh, or eight, depending on how you count).
For “James Dean” the band all wear cool looking sunglasses, and then end the slot with “Doolin-Daulton / Desperado.” The encore of the show is “Take It Easy” where they are joined by both Ronstadt and Browne. It is recommended since this is one of the very few telecasts in circulation. The quality of the tape King Snake use is excellent all around.
Live in Vliegermolen, Voorburg, The Netherlands – March 10th, 1973
Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies / Take It Easy, Tequila Sunrise, Saturday Night, Peaceful Easy Feeling, How Long, A Certain Kind Of Fool, Outlaw Man, Out Of Control, Witchy Woman, Keep On Tryin’, Early Bird
The final third of the disc is the rarest footage of the three. This is an hour long pro-shot footage from March, 1973. It is from the Grand Gala du Pop, organised by the Dutch Broadcasting Association VARA at sporting hall De Vliegermolen in Voorburg, near The Hague with such artists as Livin ‘Blues, Slade, The Faces, Argent and The Who.
Some copies of this telecast have subtitles for the song names, but King Snake use a clean, crisp copy of the show for this release. The MC introduces the band (in Dutch), and they commence the set the same way (and in Henley’s case, in the same clothes) as the BBC telecast that month by sitting in front of the stage sporting acoustic instruments.
They start their set with the a capella “Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies” leading into “Take It Easy,” the same arrangement found in the BBC telecast and follow with two songs from the new album. Before “Saturday Night” Frey explains to the crowd, “we got this new album we just got done in London. It’s called Desperado and it’s all about outlaws and about the 1890s in Kansas. And somehow or another that’s got something to do with rock and roll. Because you can’t rob banks for very long and get away with it and you can’t play rock and roll for very long and get away with it.”
“Peaceful Easy Feeling” is the first electric number played. “How Long” is a cover of the JD Souther tune found on his album John David Souther. The Eagles would cover the song again thirty five years later on Long Road out of Eden in 2007 and would earn a Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
“A Certain Kind Of Fool” and “Outlaw Man” are played back-to-back and would be the second single from the album, released that August. “Witchy Woman” is “a song you may recognize.” The set ends with Leadon’s vocals and banjo on “Earlybird” from the first album, dueling with Frey’s slide guitar. At the end, Frey thanks the audience and mentioned their show in Amsterdam the following day.
Currently, the only officially released visual documents of The Eagles date from 1994 (Hell Freezes Over) and 2004 (Farewell 1 Tour – Live From Melbourne) with nothing from their heyday. This fact alone makes Early Flight indispensable for Eagle collectors. Even though there are some limitations for on the video tapes given their age, King Snake did a great job using the best and most clean sources. It is pressed on NTSC region 0 to be compatible for all DVD players.
The BBC and Don Kirschner Rock Concert shows saw silver DVD release on the ZipperDreams label back in 2004, along with a bonus track “Take It Easy” purported to be Central Park, NYC 1972, under the title “Burrito Blues on Carnaby”. The running time of that disc was 1:25:35…..