This behind-the scenes look at the Eagles’ concert at Mile High Stadium on August 8th, 1976, includes interviews with Randy’s parents, his wife, as well as a rare glimpse of life backstage and on the road.
Linda Ronstadt and J.D. Souther opened.
The concert was attended by more than 50,000 fans. It was only the second concert in the newly-built Kingdome. The first was Paul McCartney & Wings in June.
Original concert poster
The sound was terrible in the giant venue unless you were seated directly in front of the stage. Fans who came to hear the Eagles’ perfect harmonies couldn’t hear them unless they were right up close. Patrick McDonald of the Seattle Times, noted that due to the size of the Kingdome and the number of people in attendance, the show resembled an “indoor Woodstock” with people milling around and friends sitting together passing pipes and joints. However, unlike Woodstock, the Kingdome was equipped with a giant video screen that hung near the stage:
“One major difference was the big screen, which did give everybody a good view of what was going on on stage. They were doing different things with than at the Wings show – split screen, dissolves, extreme close-ups, etc. It was like watching In Concert on a giant TV screen except the sound is better on TV.”Patrick McDonald, Seattle Times, August 8, 1976
This video screen footage of the Seattle concert exists as a bootleg. Below I have included the video of Randy’s two lead-singing performances, “Midnight Flyer” and “Take It To The Limit.” Unfortunately, the beginning of “Take It To The Limit” has been edited out and it starts in the middle of the song. I have also included “One Of These Nights” because Randy was groovin’ through the whole song. A link to the entire concert is at the bottom.
“Take It To The Limit”
Listen to the end to hear Glenn Frey say “That was Randy Meisner, our bass player, hitting the high notes there. We love it every night.” Then Joe Walsh pipes in: “He can sing higher than that if he needs to.”
“One Of These Nights” with groovin’ Randy and his eardrum-shattering high notes during the choruses at the end.
Watch the full concert here: https://archive.org/details/the-eagles-1976-seattle-wa
J.D. Souther opened.
Both Glenn Frey and the concert’s opening act, J.D. Souther, were born in Detroit. In 1964, Glenn’s aunt Virginia took him to see the Beatles at Olympia Stadium, when he was 15-years-old.
The Eagles perform “Seven Bridges Road” at Olympia Stadium.
Randy sang lead on “Midnight Flyer” and “Take It To The Limit.”
J.D. Souther opened.
The opening of the following review refers to the Elton John concert which took place the night before.
Billy Reed, columnist for the Courier-Journal, noted that all but Randy had either a beard or mustache:
“…everybody had either a beard or mustache except bass guitarist Randy Meisner, who looked downright clean in his Prince Valiant haircut. Meisner proved he was in the right place when he sang lead on ‘Take It To The Limit,” one of the Eagles’ smash hits.
The Eagles at Freedom Hall:
An overview of the Eagles’ first tour of Japan, including the first known live recording of “Take It To The Limit.”
The Eagles kicked off a ten-day tour of Australia. This was the first show with Joe Walsh in the band.
For this show, Randy wore a shirt for Average White Band’s AWB album. He is also playing a rare Fender Telecaster bass.
Randy’s “Take It To The Limit” was “really well-performed and the crowd reaction was instantaneous, long and loud – so long, in fact, that he told the crowd it was embarrassing him, and he looked as if it were.”
J.D. Souther opened.
Before the show, Randy, Don Felder, and J.D. Souther were spotted grabbing a bite at the Burger King down the street from Market Square Arena.
Randy’s performance of “Take It To The Limit” was the highlight of the evening and earned him a standing ovation.
“The man who stole the show, perhaps, was bass player Randy Meisner, who sang lead only once. The number was last winter’s giant hit, “Take It To The Limit.” Meisner had ’em cheering long before the finish of the song. His clean, crisp high vocals earned him the only standing ovation for an individual performance.”Zach Dunkin, Indianapolis News, November 23, 1976
Review from Indianapolis News, November 23, 1976. Joe Walsh is incorrectly identified in the photo as Don Felder.
J.D. Souther was the opening act.
A week before the show on November 11th, the band was interviewed by radio host, Gary Bridges, for an Eagles special on WDBG.
According to the review, the truck transporting the band’s sound system was involved in a serious accident in Des Moines, IA the day before the show, so the band had to rent less-than-ideal sound equipment for a large arena.
Sadly, no mention of Randy in the review (the only band member not mentioned).
The Eagles played the Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University in Ames. J.D. Souther opened.
Photos from the ISU Bomb yearbook (1977)
J.D. Souther opened.
According to the review, Randy’s soprano on “Take It To The Limit” sent the audience into a “frenzy,” and “Midnight Flyer” brought out the cowboys in the crowd.
In the photos, Randy is playing a Music Man Stingray bass, which had just been introduced that year.
J.D. Souther opened the show and later joined the band onstage for “Best Of My Love,” which he co-wrote with Don Henley & Glenn Frey.
The Summit had a four-sided video screen called a “Telscreen” which hung from the ceiling. Any band who came in to perform paid a flat fee for use of the Telscreen and received a videotape of the concert in return. These Telscreen performances were often bootlegged, hence the existing footage of the Eagles Summit show, which has never been released officially.
According to a March 5th, 1978 article in the Houston Chronicle, the Summit’s Telscreen production crew were known to add graphics to their video footage as it was happening. During concerts, they focused mainly on whoever was singing. This explains the footage of the Summit show, which included graphics between songs and very few camera angles.
At the show, Randy and Joe both wore white t-shirts bearing the logo for Criteria Studios in Miami where the band was finishing up Hotel California at the time. In fact, the previous night’s show in Baton Rouge was held up for two hours because the band was late arriving from Miami.
In 2006, Randy recalled the grueling touring and recording schedule from this period:
“We had to go out on the road while we were doing that album and then go back to Criteria Studios in Florida to finish it…We went back and forth a lot…wanted to get the tracks right and mixed right. We knew the album was special.“Interview with Ken Sharp, 2006
The less-than-complimentary review in the Houston Chronicle noted that the band looked and sounded “frayed around the edges,” this was perhaps due to their touring/recording schedule from the time period.
Below are Randy’s two lead-singing performances from the concert:
“Take It To The Limit”
Click the link below to watch the concert in its entirety:
Eagles, Houston Summit, November 6, 1976
The band arrived two hours late from Miami where they were putting the finishing touches on Hotel California.
Opening the show was J.D. Souther. Randy performed “Midnight Flyer” and “Take It To The Limit.”
Below: a new (to me) photo by concertgoer Debbie Ray:
According to a description of the show in LSU’s 1977 Gumbo yearbook, someone in the audience threw an object at Randy during “Tequila Sunrise” hitting him on the side of the head:
“As the group was arrayed across the stage singing, ‘Tequila Sunrise,’ someone threw an object from the side of the stage which hit bass player Randy Meisner on the side of his head. He grimaced but continued playing until the song’s conclusion when he picked up the object and hurled it back in the general direction from which it had come. Dropping his bass with an amplified thud he stalked off stage in a huff as the rest of the group received the applause oblivious to the whole incident.” (Gumbo yearbook, 1977, Louisiana State University)
All photos from LSU’s Gumbo yearbook (1977):
According to the review in LSU’s Daily Reveille, Randy’s solo on “Take It To The Limit” was a highlight (5th paragraph).
The band’s late arrival is mentioned in the Baton Rouge Advocate review, November 6, 1976: