The Eagles were the headliners at the third annual Ohio University Music Festival (formerly known as the Ohio University Folk Festival) on April 28th, 1973 in Athens, Ohio, less than two weeks after the release of their second album, Desperado.

Also appearing at the two-day festival were Blood, Sweat and Tears, fellow Asylum artists Jo Jo Gunne, Joe Walsh & Barnstorm, Dr. Hook, Billy Preston, and a then-unknown guy from New Jersey named Bruce Springsteen.

Ohio University Post, April 25th, 1973
Original festival poster

Joe Walsh appeared on Saturday night’s bill, along with the Eagles, two-and-a-half years before he joined the band.

Ohio University Post, April 30th, 1973
L-R: Jay Ferguson of Jo Jo Gunne (formerly of Spirit), Billy Preston, and future Eagle Joe Walsh (formerly of the James Gang.)
Joe Walsh

The following is an excerpt from the lone review of the show in Ohio State University’s Lantern newspaper. Suffice to say, the audience wanted to “boogie” and the Eagles delivered:

“The Eagles urged the audience at the Ohio Music Festival to ‘Take It Easy’ as they began their closing act Saturday night. But the audience had listened to many inferior performances in the two-day festival and was in no mood to take it easy. The people wanted to boogie.

“Country and folk oriented, the Eagles, played a mixture of soft folk songs mixed in with their top-40 hits ‘Take It Easy,’ ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’ and ‘Witchy Woman’ to bring the crowd to its feet demanding more when the artists had left the stage.”

Ohio University Post, April 30th, 1973

Backstage, Bernie Leadon and Glenn Frey were conflicted about going back on for an encore:

“As he got to the dressing room door, guitarist Bernie Leadon, formerly of the Flying Burrito Brothers, turned and said to no one in particular, ‘Do you think we should go back on?’ He then answered his own question . ‘Let’s let them wait a minute to see if they really want us back. ‘ Another guitarist, Glenn Frey, who along with drummer Don Henley played for Linda Ronstadt, commented, ‘That crowd ain’t big enough for an encore.’

“But the clapping didn’t stop. ‘So what. It’s our headline,’ Leadon concluded and the group went back. They played the rock ‘n roll classic ‘Oh Carol’ to the jubilant dancing and clapping of an approving audience.”¬† (Dennis Cusick, OSU Lantern, May 1, 1973)

These photos of the show were taken by Charles Nye.

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  1. I love that photo of Bernie and Glenn playing acoustic guitars, Randy on bass and Don is obviously on the drums.

    1. It’s a great photo. I’ve wondered which song they might be performing since Bernie appears to be singing lead, perhaps “Train Leaves Here This Morning.”

  2. I wrote that review in the Ohio State Lantern. While the Eagles performed, I stood backstage next to Joe Walsh. An interesting juxtaposition, in that he would join the band two years later. I still have a photo taken backstage, notebook in hand, as Billy Preston held court after his performance.

    1. How cool. Preston was like the fifth Beatle. Plus, what a great memory of seeing the Eagles standing next to Joe. That’s really something. Thanks for commenting. I added your name to the quotes above. I should have done that originally.

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