Photo Credit: Rob Nozeika
“Hey, how ya doin’?” is probably Joe Walsh’s favorite saying while on stage. When you hear that, you know it’s gonna be a good night of music. I knew he would say it at some point, and all would be right with the world. The now-former guitarist for the Eagles (they called it quits—again—this past June) rolled into Baltimore on a long-awaited solo tour and what a show it was.
He opened with the guitar-blazing riff of “Walk Away” from his James Gang days. “Analog Man,” the title song from his most recent album was next, and the 68 year old Walsh played like he was 18 again, to the packed house at Pier Six, where everyone was on their feet.
Now, being a Joe fan for a long time, I expected to hear his classics played to perfection, and I was not disappointed. “Take It To The Limit” followed a moving tribute to his friend and longtime fellow Eagle, Glenn Frey, who passed away this past January.
And then, it happened. “How ya doin’?” he cried, to the roar of the crowd midway through “In The City,” and he left the stage. The show abruptly morphed into a full-on dance party with lights flashing, girls shooting t-shirts into the crowd, and more dancing, before Joe came back and finished the song. It was just the kind of crazy thing that illustrated he was still having fun like he has always done. Finishing the set were “Life’s Been Good” and “Life In The Fast Lane” leaving the audience with the encore, “Rocky Mountain Way.”
I was doin’ well. I had just seen a true rock legend perform, quite possibly for the last time around, and could check seeing Joe Walsh live, off my personal bucket list.
The opening band was JD and The Straight Shot. For not having heard of them, I was impressed with their intimate stage performance. All acoustic, Ballyhoo! is their newest album of five. The lead singer reminded me a little of Tom Waits, and the sound was a good mix of bluegrass/rustic/classic rock/country sort of music. The set was a delightful change of pace for me, as I had been listening to Queensryche on the way to the show. Joe Walsh produced their 2014 album Where I’ve Been, which explained why they were opening for him on the tour. I got their new release and was pleasantly surprised with the sound. Look for them continuing to tour after they finish touring with Joe.