20 Years Ago: The Eagles Play First ‘Hell Freezes Over’ Show
In April of 1994, Eagles fans were reminded once again why you should never say never. In repudiation of an earlier statement that his old band would never reunite, singer/drummer Don Henley took to the stage alongside Glenn Frey, Don Felder, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt to perform live together for the first time in twenty years.
The initial end of the band came with an epic meltdown at a show in Long Beach, California – now and forever referred to as the ‘Long Night at Wrong Beach’ – on July 31, 1980 when Felder and Frey almost came to physical blows. Frey took issue with Felder smarmily replying back to Senator Alan Cranston with, “you’re welcome….I guess,” after he was thanked for agreeing to perform a show in his honor.
Though they kept it quiet for many months afterward, the Eagles were done. To those in the band, it was hard to imagine a scenario where they would ever come back. Henley was categorical and famously quipped that the band would get back together when hell freezes over. Speaking to People Magazine in 1982 in a statement he’d be eating for decades to come, Frey remarked, “I just rule out the possibility of putting the Eagles back together for a Lost Youth and Greed tour.”
Time, as the old saying goes, can heal all wounds. After fourteen years apart, tensions amongst the members of the band cooled and they all agreed to get back together for another go around. A studio space was booked in Burbank, California and over two days the Eagles were filmed and recorded for an MTV special and a new album.
The project ended up being a huge success with the subsequent record, ‘Hell Freezes Over’ topping out the charts at no. 1 for two weeks. Ultimately the album sold over six million copies and spawned two top 40 singles, “Get Over It” and “Love Will Keep Us Alive.”
The good times didn’t end there either. The tour that followed ended up becoming one of the most notable and financially successful in the history of rock music. Over three years from 1994 to 1996 the band played 160 shows across the world setting box office records at nearly every stop along the way.