“History of The Eagles,” a three-hour documentary on the long-beloved classic country rock band, is both the best and worst music documentary released this year.
A three-hour behemoth, which premiered on Showtime in February before becoming available for purchase digitally and on disc, is extremely thorough in its examination of the band’s history, reign in the '70s, split in the '80s, and return to action in the mid `90s through present day. The archival footage is stellar – it can be argued the brains behind the docu took a cue from Rush’s incredible “Beyond the Lighted Stage” from a few years back – and, when focusing on the music, they leave nary a stone unturned, which has likely resulted in repeated viewing for many an Eaglist.
For more critical viewers, “History” can be seen as the “Don Henley and Glenn Frey Show,” with past and present members and allies in supporting roles appearing solely to extol the founding members’ virtues and with only seconds of screen time allotted to contradict the duo. For TV hate-watchers, “History” is small-screen gold.
That Henley and Frey come off as self-important and smug is no surprise to pop culture watchers in the know; for a sneak peek, search online for a 2007 interview with the band on “60 Minutes,” where the dynamic duo handle the important questions with arrogance, and supporting Eagles Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt are little more than screen props.
“History” can also be viewed as a vehicle for Henley and Frey’s response for ousted band member Don Felder’s 2008 tell-all “Heaven and Hell,” in which Henley – and especially Frey – are portrayed as greedy, controlling bandleaders using intimidation and a conniving manager to line their pockets on his back. The duo handle the Felder issues in “History,” funny enough, in a cold, calculating manner congruent with how Felder portrayed them in his tome.
None of this, though, likely matters to the legions of Chicagoland Eagles fans who have funded the band on their current money-grabbing jaunt. Their Oct. 19 Allstate Arena is their second area stop in the last month, having filled Chicago’s United Center as recently as Sept. 20.
The Eagles, 8 p.m. Oct. 19, Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Rd., Rosemont. $61.25-$204.75. FYI: (847) 635-6601, ALLSTATEARENA.COM
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Justin Timberlake, Feb. 17, United Center (UNITEDCENTER.COM)
MGMT, Nov. 19, Aragon Ballroom (ARAGON.COM)
Smith Westerns, Nov. 23, Vic Theatre (18 and older, JAMUSA.COM)
Ha Ha Tonka, Nov. 30, Lincoln Hall (18 and older, LINCOLNHALLCHICAGO.COM)
Chance the Rapper, Nov. 29, Riviera Theatre (JAMUSA.COM)
Corey Smith, Dec. 7, House of Blues (17 and older, HOB.COM)
Hush Sound, Dec. 26, Lincoln Hall (18 and older, LINCOLNHALLCHICAGO.COM)
Albert Hammond Jr., Nov. 13, Double Door (21 and older, DOUBLEDOOR.COM)
Jagwar Ma, Nov. 27, Lincoln Hall (18 and older, LINCOLNHALLCHICAGO.COM)
Third Eye Blind, Nov. 14, House of Blues (17 and older, HOB.COM)