By Brian Ives
Last night, CBS aired an edited broadcast of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, which saw the Eagles being honored (alongside James Taylor, Mavis Staples, Al Pacino and pianist Martha Argerich).
At the Kennedy Center Honors, the honorees sit in a balcony with their guests and the President and First Lady, while others pay tribute to them via speeches and performances. And the Eagles’ segment of the evening boasted an impressively diverse lineup: Bob Seger, Kings of Leon, Juanes, Vince Gill and guitar guru Steve Vai all paid tribute to the legendary country-rock band.
Bob Seger, of course, has a very personal connection to the band; the late Glenn Frey played bass for Seger, pre-Eagles. Seger performed the Eagles’ “Heartache Tonight,” which wasn’t quite a “cover,” since he co-wrote the song with Frey. During his segment, Seger reminded everyone why he’s still headlining arenas, more than four decades into his career, and caused some to wonder why hasn’t he gotten honored by the Kennedy Center yet.
Kings of Leon, meanwhile, made an argument that if they ever give up their career as platinum-selling arena-headliners, they would be a damn good Eagles cover band, with their cover of “Take It Easy.”
Juanes, Steve Vai and Steuart Smith (the latter has been a member of the Eagles’ touring band since they parted ways with Don Felder) recreated the Glenn Frey/Joe Walsh/ Don Felder three-guitar attack on the band’s biggest classic, “Hotel California.”
The encore saw many of the performers – Juanes, Kings of Leon, Bob Seger, Vince Gill, Steve Vai, plus Ringo Starr and the show’s host, Stephen Colbert – coming together for “Life in the Fast Lane.”