From its origins to its continued legacy, the story behind Randy Meisner’s signature song.
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.
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.”
An inside look at the Eagles’ appearance on DON KIRSHNER’S ROCK CONCERT in April 1974.
The Eagles opened for the Rolling Stones at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Joe Walsh joined them as their guest.
Joe Walsh made a surprise appearance with the Eagles for a version of his own “Rocky Mountain Way.”
Walking offstage after the show: Randy is behing Eagles’ manager, Irving Azoff (in glasses).
The Eagles played the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville on June 23rd, 1977.
The day before, the band played a game of softball against radio and record company personnel.
The Eagles onstage in Nashville. Andrew Gold opened.
Review from the Nashville Tennessean.
The day before the concert, the Eagles, aka “The Party Plane,” played a softball game against Elektra-Asylum personnel and local radio celebrities. Randy is in the background in the top right photo.
Playing for the opposing team was slide guitar aficionado, Mac Gayden. Below Gayden recalls (via Facebook) the softball game and mentions that he was initially considered as Bernie Leadon’s replacement before Walsh was added.
In 1976, when the Eagles were recording Hotel California at Criteria Studios in Miami, Gayden was in an adjacent studio at Criteria recording his album, Hymn To The Seeker. Gayden asked Randy to sing background on the song, “Someone Whispered.” It’s an overlooked gem in the Meisner canon of guest appearances. Check it out.
Footage of the Nashville softball game from the History Of The Eagles documentary.
©Alison Ellwood, Jigsaw Productions, 2013
Andrew Gold opened both shows. Steve Miller made a guest appearance on the 19th.
“Randy Meisner, the bass guitarist, lifted the show to a new level of excitement with his singing of ‘Take It To The Limit.'”
Scott Cain, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 20th, 1977
“Bassist Randy Meisner gave an outstanding singing performance on ‘Take It To The Limit.'”
Bill King, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 21st, 1977
Eagles onstage, June 20th, 1977. Photo ©Kelly Campbell.
Review: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 21st, 1977
Randy at the Omni
The Eagles headlined two concerts at Day On The Green in Oakland over Memorial Day weekend. They also played a softball game.
J.D. Souther was also on the bill. The Eagles drew the second largest crowd ever at the festival, which was sponsored by Southern Illinois University/Edwardsville (SIUE), with 29,700 attending. The Who drew the largest in 1971 with 31,000.
The show was not without problems. Festival officials had only planned for a crowd of 12,000, but twice as many showed up. There were traffic jams, fights, and property damage.
Randy backstage before the show
There were more problems behind-the-scenes. The Eagles’ road manager “threw a tantrum” because the food provided to the group was not what they requested:
“The road manager threw a tantrum because the food furnished for the group was cold cuts, not hot fried chicken. He complained about stage security. The group itself couldn’t decide if they wanted a sound check or not.” (Alton Telegraph, July 30, 1975)
Nevertheless, backstage photos show the band’s dining area with what appears to be fried chicken remnants on the table.
They also performed a sound check. Photo by Ken Regan.
During the afternoon of the concert, Ken Regan took a series of photos of the band at the local Holiday Inn as well as backstage at the festival site:
See more photos below:
Mississippi River Festival Setlist (partial)
Take It Easy
Peaceful, Easy Feeling
Best Of My Love
Randy onstage at MRF:
Review from the Edwardsville Intelligencer:
Future Eagle, Joe Walsh, also performed.
A month later, Randy wore a shirt from the festival in a set of photos taken by Henry Diltz.
See more photos below:
An overview of the Eagles’ first tour of Japan, including the first known live recording of “Take It To The Limit.”
This was the Eagles’ second-to-last date on the first leg of their 1977 Hotel California tour (they played Cleveland the next two nights). Their next stop was Europe after a three-week break. Jimmy Buffett was the opening act.
The Eagles in Toronto:
Photo ©Doug McClement
Although their musicianship was flawless, many reviews from the Hotel California tour criticized the Eagles for just standing around like statues onstage. It was something that irked Randy, who wanted to move around and have fun. He was in a rock band, after all. The reviews for the Toronto show were no different in this regard. However, the critic for the Globe And Mail complimented Randy for bringing some much-needed humanity to the show, albeit temporarily, with his dazzling performance of “Take It To The Limit”:
“When humanity breaks through, it can often dazzle. Randy Meisner’s vocals were a case in point: he appeared throughout to be only passingly interested in the performance, but then stepped to the front for is impassioned vocal on ‘Take It To The Limit.’ Only then was it apparent that this man’s seeming disinterest actually hid some real emotion. The revelation passed as he returned to his bass.”Paul McGrath, Globe and Mail, March 31, 1977 (see full review below)
Below: Randy dazzles the audience.
Photos © John Rowlands.
At a reception following the show, the Eagles were presented with a platinum record for Hotel California. Below they are photographed at the gathering with representatives from WEA (the international distributor for Asylum) and Toronto radio stations, CHUM & CFTR.
My only question is: Where’s Randy?