Music History: The Eagles launch pricey “Hell Freezes Over” tour

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On May 27, 1994, after a 14-year hiatus, veteran rockers The Eagles reunite for a tour. The tour would come to be called “Hell Freezes Over” tour, which kicked off in Burbank, California. While fans and music critics alike were likely pleased at the idea of the storied band getting back together, they were probably less pleased at the price of tickets.

The Eagles: “Hell Freezes Over”

The tour was named after the band’s 1994 album, recorded in April of that year. The album and tour were named after a 1980 quote attributed to drummer and singer Don Henley. The quote was reportedly a response to the question: “When would the band play together again?”

So the joke was on everyone when the band did in fact, play together again in 1994. The cost of getting to see the group live would set a record, however. The Eagles became the first band to charge $100 for a concert ticket.

The band’s popularity was cemented in the 1970s, and continued in 1980 with the album “The Long Run” and subsequent tour. After that, the members went their own ways and got involved with other projects. Notably, Don Felder worked on music for the film, ‘Heavy Metal,” and both Don Henley and Glenn Frey had successful solo albums.

Because of the band members’ post-Eagles activities, the public was able to hear what the musicians were up to as the 1970s rockers faced the end of the 20th century.

But charging $100 for tickets was a new development. Keep in mind that in some places, especially in the Midwest, arena shows ranged from $12 to $20. However, according to songfacts.com, the pricing was the brainchild of a manager, Irving Azoff who figured that the band’s fanbase were no longer living life in the fast lane, and as responsible wage earners, could afford higher ticket prices. songfacts.com further reports that it was Azoff’s idea that the high prices would undermine the work of scalpers, who would often sell tickets at the $100 mark.

High prices no matter for Eagles’ fans

“Hell Freezes Over” would go down in music history as one of the most successful tours of the 1990s. Popular demand propelled the tour into 1996– one year beyond its proposed end of 1995. The tour grossed $63.3 million.

The success of the “Hell Freezes Over” tour proved that diehard Eagles’ fans would pay almost any price to experience the band’s California sound in person. Perhaps The Eagles were cheered on by the response to Travis Tritt’s 1993 cover version of “Take It Easy.” A successful tour after a 14-year break proved that The Eagles were as popular as ever.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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