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Wednesday, May 9th, 2018
Beyond Beachcomberland

Orlando and Winter Garden – Historic Places and History-Making Concerts

It hit 89 degrees in Orlando on Saturday, April 14. It was a perfect Florida day for an afternoon of tailgating at Camping World Stadium before the evening’s big events. First up, a performance by Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band, followed by a two-and-a-half-hour performance by the classic American rock band the Eagles.

At 7 p.m., with a nice Florida breeze blowing through the stadium, Buffett and his band hit the stage. They opened with “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” before heading into “Pencil Thin Mustache.” Buffett played all the crowd’s favorites including “Come Monday,” “Volcano,” “Margaritaville,” and “Fins.”

On that last song, he had the crowd leaning to the left and right. Also included in the setlist were covers of “Southern Cross” and “Knee Deep.” Buffett’s encores included “We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About” and “Brown Eyed Girl.” Buffett’s 90-minute show was a great starter to an outstanding evening of music.

Promptly at 9, soft blue lights came up on stage and the opening lyrics to “Seven Bridges Road” rang out across the venue. Across the front of the stage stood Joe Walsh, Deacon Frey (the 24-year-old son of the late Glenn Frey), Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, and country superstar Vince Gill.

After the opening number, Deacon sang “Take It Easy,” a song his father co-wrote (with Jackson Browne) and sang lead on back in 1972. The younger Frey sounded like his dad many times throughout the song and even resembled Glenn from the band’s early days.

From there, Henley—the only original Eagle left in the band—took over on lead with “One of These Nights” and a voice that still sounds remarkably good. He then introduced country superstar Vince Gill, who sang “Take It to The Limit.” Gill fit right in with his soaring tenor voice and superb guitar playing. He also told the crowd how thrilled he was to be playing with the Eagles and would later sing one of his own songs, “The Next Best Thing.”

Then it was time for one of the top guitarists in the world to take over the stage. Walsh sang “In the City,” demonstrating his exemplary guitar playing and zany facial expressions. He also performed hits from his James Gang days including “Walk Away” and “Funk #49.”

Henley and the younger Frey teamed up for “How Long,” a J.D. Souther song the Eagles first sang in 1972 and eventually released on their 2007 album Long Road Out of Eden. Bassist and vocalist Schmit joined in after that with “I Can’t Tell You Why” and “Love Will Keep Us Alive.”

Gill and Deacon shared lead vocal duties on many of the old Glenn Frey songs. Gill sang lead on “New Kid in Town” and the Grammy winning “Lyin’ Eyes,” and Deacon took on “Already Gone.” Henley sang the first encore, “Hotel California,” and the second encore included Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way” and Henley’s solo “Desperado.”

The Eagles ended their show at 11:30 keeping the crowd of over 46,000 on their feet and singing along. I’ve seen the band in concert multiple times, and this was a fantastic show. I’m sure Glenn Frey was smiling down on his son and bandmates.

On a side note, next time you are in Orlando, check out the Downtown Historic District of nearby Winter Garden. According to WinterGardenPost.com, this small town was developed in the late 19th century during the growth of the citrus industry. It was once a destination for celebrities such as Clark Gable, who would take the train there and stay at the Edgewater Motel.

The motel was built in 1927 and is still there. With its brick-lined streets, it’s pedestrian friendly and includes many shops and restaurants along with the Winter Garden Theatre.

Also located in Downtown Winter Garden is the Plant Street Market, with 20 vendors offering natural, organic food and handmade products all inside of one building. The cornerstone of the Plant Street Market is the Crooked Can Brewery that includes ample seating outside.

My family and I had lunch at the Moon Cricket Grille, built in 1912, also with outdoor seating. The restaurant is known for its burgers, wings and sandwiches. We ordered sandwiches, and they were delicious.

Downtown Winter Garden is also pet-friendly, and we saw plenty of dogs with their owners. On Saturdays, there is a farmers’ market, and you can enjoy live music Friday evenings on the Plaza. There’s also plenty of free parking.

For more information, visit CWGDN.com.