Randy Meisner: The Pièce de Résistance

On March 10th, 1973, the Eagles played to a “half-full, but enthusiastic” crowd at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. This was the band’s first-ever appearance at the famous Dutch venue (Bernie Leadon played there two years earlier with the Flying Burrito Brothers). The Eagles would return to the Concertgebouw later that same year in November.

Het Parool, February 14, 1973

The previous night, the band had performed at the Popgala festival in Voorburg, which was, by all accounts, a chaotic mess riddled with sound problems. Many reviewers who had attended both of the Eagles shows that weekend say the Amsterdam show was the stand-out performance.

“The Eagles performed Saturday night at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Four strong – Bernie Leadon, Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner and Don Henley – they regaled the audience with a series of beautiful songs as far as the acoustic part was concerned, much clearer than Friday night at the Popgala.”
De Tijd, March 12, 1973 (translated)

Eagles in Amsterdam, March 10, 1973
L-R: Randy Meisner, Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, Don Henley.
Photo © Gijsbert Hanekroot

“With the song ‘Train Leaves Here This Morning’, from the Dillard-and-Clark period, which was performed in a modest way by Bernie Leadon, the country pop group, The Eagles, started an almost one-and-a-half-hour concert on Saturday night.”
Trouw, March 13, 1973 (translated)

SETLIST
AMSTERDAM, MARCH 10, 1973


Train Leaves Here This Morning
Tequila Sunrise
Saturday Night
Peaceful Easy Feeling
How Long
Certain Kind Of Fool
Outlaw Man
Out Of Control
Witchy Woman
Tryin’
Earlybird
Take It Easy
Oh Carol
Johnny B. Goode

The band played tunes from their first album, as well as their forthcoming album, Desperado, which they had just completed in London. They opened with a sit-down, acoustic set, similar to the previous night at Popgala, but with a different song arrangement. The Dutch newspaper, De Tijd, compared the Eagles’ acoustic set to the band, America, who performed in a similar way. But after seeing the Eagles it felt America should “pack its bags”:

“During the acoustic part, the foursome sat peacefully side by side on stools, a setup we know from the group America, for example. Compared to the beautiful lead vocals of Glenn Frey (in “Tequila Sunrise,” a sadly soothing ballad) and Don Henley (in “Whatever Happened To Saturday night,” vague memories of a watered-down evening) America can pack its bags with their saltless chatter. This is due in large part to the beautifully drawn out guitar parts, to Bernie’s clever work on the mandolin, and to the unobtrusive but formidable support work of Randy Meisner on the electric bass. “Train Leaves Here This Morning,” a composition by Gene Clark, lends itself wonderfully to this approach and there, too, the result was correspondingly satisfying.”
De Tijd, March 12, 1973 (translated)

Then came the “electric set” complete with “guitar violence”:

“The Eagles continued their concert with more electrifying work, drawing particularly from their first album, released last year. Beginning – with not too big a transition – the wonderfully fine song ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’, the ‘song of the desert’, which was brilliantly delivered by Glenn Frey. After the unknown ‘How Long’, a song from the country-rock idiom, that sounded like clockwork, the same pattern was continued with ‘Desperado’ by Randy Meisner [sic] and ‘I Am An Outlaw,’ [Outlaw Man] where the Eagles went at it vigorously. Glenn Frey (what a voice) continued with ‘Out of Control’, with Leadon on the banjo and Meisner in a great bass part. Then ‘Earlybird,’ a Leadon-Meisner song, with the former not shying away from a virtuoso banjo solo at an almost killer pace. From their first album with the same name, the Eagles also performed ‘Tryin’, ‘Witchy Woman’ and finally ‘Take It Easy.’ Especially the first song was “a lump of guitar violence. It all fit together like a glove and with pleasure one can conclude that this group ‘live’ is certainly not inferior to what is put on the record.”
Trouw, March 13, 1973 (translated)

Photo © Gijsbert Hanekroot

One reviewer compared Randy’s bass work to Rick Danko of the Band & the vocals during “Tryin'” to a “choir”:

“Meisner, as a bassist, is perhaps even better than Rick Danko of The Band. Don Henley’s drumming was also comparable to that of Levon Helm. The combinations that Leadon and Glenn Frey made on guitar in e.g. Witchy Woman, one of their best compositions, were brilliant. Vocally, Tryin’ achieved an effect that suggested an entire choir of much larger proportions.”
De Volkskrant, March 12, 1973 (translated)

Then came the “‘pièce de résistance”:

“In ‘How Long,’ a solid Poco-style song, they took the aptitude test in close harmony [but] the subsequent song was, as far as I was concerned, their ‘pièce de résistance’: ‘It Wasn’t For The Money’ (‘Certain Kind Of Fool’), with Randy in the vocal lead. What a chillingly beautiful lament that boy can make. Not that shaky, but a sound that would elicit sympathy even from a regiment of mercenaries.”
De Tijd, March 12, 1973 (translated)

All eyes on Randy singing “Certain Kind Of Fool,” Amsterdam, March 10, 1973
Photo © Gijsbert Hanekroot

This was his second-ever performance of “Certain Kind Of Fool,” a song he co-wrote with Don Henley and Glenn Frey for their upcoming album, Desperado. The first was the night before at Popgala.

For encores, the band performed two Chuck Berry numbers, “Oh Carol” and a rare rendition of “Johnny B. Goode.”

“Then the fun was over for the enthusiastic audience, who witnessed one of the best concerts of the year. At least in the country atmosphere. Although there will undoubtedly have been pure Bluegrass fans who regretted that Leadon no longer reached for the banjo or mandolin.”
Trouw, March 13, 1973 (translated)


Reviews:
“Cool Country Concert By The Eagles, by Kees De Leeuw, Trouw, March 13, 1973
“Beautiful Music From The Eagles In A Weekend Full Of Pop,” Gertjan Van Ommen, De Tijd, March 13, 1973
“Eagles” by Elly De Waard, De Volkskrant, March 12, 1973


2 comments

  1. Wonderful translation of ‘Tryin’ described as “…a lump of guitar violence” and as an “…entire choir”

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