The Eagles of Death Metal probably hadn’t gotten the mustache wax unpacked from their suitcases before their maiden voyage on the S.S. Axl Rose hit an iceberg Friday. On the first night of what was supposed to be a three-week stint opening up for Guns N’ Roses, the band was unceremoniously dumped from the bill after a chilly reception from the audience at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
Following a well-received set by tour opener Sebastian Bach, the Eagles took the stage and, according to John Soeder, pop critic for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the band was met with “not deafening boos, but lots of grumbling and grousing and … indifference.”
While a handful of people were dancing along to the Eagles’ good-time, sleazy garage rock, Soeder said it appeared as if the majority of the audience was not into it and was even a bit confused by the group. (Queens of the Stone Age singer/guitarist Josh Homme is a member of the Eagles, although he rarely tours with them and did not perform at Friday night’s show.)
After a two-hour wait for the headliners, Rose came out and promptly dissed the Eagles, asking the audience, “So how’d you like the Pigeons of Sh– Metal? Don’t worry, that’s the last show they’re playing with us.” And, just like that, the Eagles were tossed out of the nest.
The Eagles took the Rose kiss-off with their usual fistful of salt. “At first the audience refused to welcome us to the jungle, but by the time we took our final bow, it had become paradise city,” reads a statement from the band released on Monday (November 27). “Although Axl tried to November rain on our parade, no sweet child o’ mine can derail the EODM night train. We say live and let die.”
“My impression was, and I don’t want to belittle the GN’R fans, but they didn’t really get the inside-joke quality of the Eagles … or the facial hair,” Soeder told MTV News about the handlebar-mustache look sported by Eagles singer Jesse “The Devil” Hughes.
“Axl seemed like he was in a bad mood,” said fan Nate Harris, who attended the show. “One of the first things he did was kick out someone who was in one of the first few rows during the opening song. He came back to the ’Pigeons of Sh– Metal’ bit all set long.” Harris said Rose also turned the sound man into a target, repeatedly glaring at him, and at one point calling him “useless.”
“Sebastian Bach … they ate up his hair metal hits from the ’80s and the new stuff, which sounded like the old stuff,” Soeder reported. “But the audience seemed to be confused [during the Eagles’ set] as to who the joke was on. They like their metal unironic. Numerous songs slipped into falsetto, and if you’re a purist heavy-metal fan, falsetto isn’t good.”
Harris concurred that the crowd bid the Eagles farewell with “a few boos, some spare applause, but definitely no cheering,” and added that Axl concluded the night with a graceful thank you to the crowd for bearing with his bad day.
A spokesperson for Guns N’ Roses did not return calls for comment and no announcement had been made at press time as to who will replace the Eagles (see “Guns N’ Roses Hint At Democracy’s Arrival, Add Tour Dates” ). The band cancelled its Tuesday night (November 28) concert in Milwaukee due to Rose “suffering from an ear infection and strep throat,” according to the band’s Web site.