RENO, Nev. — Joe Walsh’s membership as lead guitarist in the Eagles has had negative consequences to fans of Walsh’s solo career — the more he plays the opening riffs to ‘Hotel California’ around the world, the less he’s jamming to his own catalog of hits that span several decades.
Some fans crossover in his Eagles’ role but most don’t. But, with the Eagles on break from their heavy tour schedule, Walsh has been out in support of “Analog Man,” his first solo studio release since 1992 — performing last weekend to a sold-out Grand Exposition Hall at the Silver Legacy Casino in Reno.
Walsh touched twice on his new LP, the title track in which he questions the merits of the digital age — when analog works just fine; and “One Day at a Time,” in which Walsh chronicles his substance abuse issues/recovery.
Greeting the Exposition Hall with his trademark “good morning!” Walsh launched into “Welcome to the Club” followed by “A Life Of Illusion” from 1981’s “There Goes the Neighborhood.”
“Analog Man” was next before Walsh and band — two drummers, percussionist, bassist, keyboards, guitarist and three back-up singers — dipped back to his days in James Gang for “Walk Away.”
Walsh played guitar and sang backup on the Bob Dylan-penned “I Shall Be Released,” a tribute to the recent passing of Levon Helm, complete with background video footage, a founding member of the legendary group The Band.
“The Bomber” is well-known from Walsh’s time in the band Barnstorm while extended solos made up the bulk of ‘Turned to Stone.”
“In the City,” a Walsh contribution to the Eagles’ “King of Hollywood” LP, set the stage for Walsh’s strong finish, leading off with “Funk ##49,” with riffs everyone’s heard before and “Life’s Been Good,” a song everyone can sing and Walsh’s spoof on rock stardom.
“Life In The Fast Lane,” one Walsh wrote for the Eagles, closed the set and he came back and encored with his classic “Rocky Mountain Way,” ensuring that concert-goers left to gamble humming Joe Walsh — who they were there to see — not the Eagles.