WRITTEN BY DEBRA LYNN
A pandemic-weary Port McNeill came to life on Nov. 27 at the Gate House Theatre with a performance by the Vancouver Island Eagles tribute band, Eagle Eyes. The concert had good energy, good harmony, good volume, good impact. It felt like an especially energetic high school reunion, but it was a reunion around a certain point in musical history. With the easy banter going on between the band and the audience, it seemed like everyone was old friends “from way back.” Although the theatre was packed wall to wall by a predominately older crowd, they obviously hadn’t forgotten how to party!
I am curious how this group managed to find one another with voices so closely matching the original band members. Thankfully, they were not completely “matchy matchy” to the original group, or they would have sounded too much like the recordings we’ve been listening to for decades. Their personalities found a subtle way to seep into the performance: it was not just “Eagles,” it was “Eagles plus.” They certainly conveyed a love for the music, and their long locks solidified it!
Jason Dunajski did an uncanny representation of Don Henley. When he sang the very melodic tune, “Desperado,” he effectively created that melancholic punch that is the song’s due.
Jack Gunderson, channeling Glen Frey and Timothy B. Schmitt, made a clever commentary on the times that we are living in.
He talked about how he chanted out to the spirit of Glenn Frey during a summer concert and a power outage immediately ensued. Threatening to repeat the call here, some audience members—fed up with the rash of power failures we’ve been having lately—got nervous and begged him not to. Lights abruptly went out, but, to the relief of many, it wasn’t an actual outage!
Kenneth Ermter banged on the drums with fervor. He didn’t just hit the skins, he put himself right into them!
Ray Harvey, representing Joe Walsh, played a solo guitar segment that raised the roof.
The audience evolved into an essential element of the performance. Not only did they cheer and hoot their pleasure ebulliently and add to the energy of the show, they also even sometimes sang along and danced in the aisles! The band was so delighted with their Port McNeill audience that they commented that they wanted to bring us “home to mother.”
Near the end of the concert, the band put down their instruments, turned on the lights, turned around and took a selfie with the theatre occupants to have as a memento of the experience!
Eagle Eyes received a standing ovation and rewarded their enthusiastic group with three additional songs.
The cheering might have gone on and on if the lights had not been abruptly turned on after the last set.
In the end, everybody, both band and audience, went home with smiles on their faces. A good time was had by all. And after two years of COVID, we need it!
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