When the Eagles play their first L.A.-area concert in five years on Wednesday at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, they'll be heading into Southern California concert history.
The performance kicks off a six-week, 10-concert blitz at the Pond and downtown L.A.'s Staples Center, with total attendance expected to surpass 180,000, especially if more shows are added, as has been rumored.
That would put the L.A.-based Eagles ahead of Neil Diamond, whose 10-show run at the Forum in 1989 has stood as the biggest arena engagement in the region for a decade and a half, with attendance of about 180,000. (The highest total for any engagement was the 330,000 for Bruce Springsteen's four nights at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1985.)
"That's incredible, really," Gary Bongiovanni, editor in chief of the concert trade publication Pollstar, said of the Eagles' 2005 showing. "Sure, L.A.'s their home market, but how many acts can do that? Staggering is what it is."
The band, whose '70s recordings came to define that decade's so-called California sound, has helped build anticipation by remaining scarce in its home state since reuniting for tours just over a decade ago after a 14-year hiatus. Its last L.A.-area show was a Staples Center concert on New Year's Eve 1999.
The band's making up for it by focusing on the Golden State with the "California Tour," a 27-concert swing that will end Nov. 17.
The Eagles whetted fans' appetites with an NBC concert telecast in June that was subsequently released on DVD, but the band's ability to sell tickets without a collection of new material to stir up excitement is no surprise to Pollstar's Bongiovanni.
"The concert business is fueled by artists who date back to that same era. I mean, Neil Diamond is doing a hugely successful tour and, like the Eagles', it's not dependent on having a new record out."
So what does it depend on?
"I suppose first and foremost is that they're still a great live act," said Bongiovanni. "You combine that with really great material that resonates very strongly with the baby boomer generation that grew up on it. It's not a nostalgia show, really. It's great musicianship."
-- Richard Cromelin