WRITTEN BY DEBRA LYNN
A pandemic-tired Port McNeill came to life on November 27 at the Gate House Theater with a performance by Vancouver Island Eagles tribute band Eagle Eyes. The concert had good energy, good harmony, good volume, good impact. It sounded like a particularly energetic high school reunion, but it was a reunion around a certain point in music history. With the easy jokes between the band and the audience, it seemed like everyone was “long old” friends. Even though the theater was packed from wall to wall with a mostly older crowd, they obviously hadn’t forgotten how to party!
I’m curious how this band managed to come together with voices so close to the original band members. Fortunately, they weren’t completely “matchy matchy” to the original band, or they would have sounded too much like the recordings we’ve been listening to for decades. Their personalities found a subtle way to infiltrate the performance: It wasn’t just “Eagles”, it was “Eagles Plus”. They certainly conveyed a love for music, and their long locks solidified it!
Jason Dunajski made a strange portrayal of Don Henley. When he sang the very melodic tune “Desperado”, he actually created that melancholy punch that is due to the song.
Jack Gunderson, channeling Glen Frey and Timothy B. Schmitt, made a clever commentary on the times we live in.
He recounted how he sang the Spirit of Glenn Frey at a summer concert and a power outage immediately ensued. Threatening to repeat the call here, some of the audience – fed up with the rash of power outages we had recently – got nervous and begged him not to. The lights went off abruptly, but, to the relief of many, it was not a real blackout!
Kenneth Ermter beat the drums fervently. He didn’t just touch the skins, he went straight into it!
Ray Harvey, representing Joe Walsh, played a solo guitar segment that rocked the roof.
The audience has become an essential part of the show. Not only did they enthusiastically cheer and boo their fun and add to the energy of the show, but they even sang and danced in the aisles at times! The band were so thrilled with their Port McNeill audience that they commented that they wanted to take us “home for mom”.
Towards the end of the concert, the band put down their instruments, turned on the lights, turned around and took a selfie with the occupants of the theater to have a souvenir of the experience!
Eagle Eyes received a standing ovation and rewarded their enthusiastic group with three more songs.
The cheering might have continued if the lights hadn’t been turned on abruptly after the last set.
In the end, everyone, band and audience, went home with a smile on their face. Everyone had a good time. And after two years of COVID, we need it!
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