By MIKE CHAIKEN
As Terry Brock sees it, it’s all about the songs.
If you want to know why a collaboration between the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and a rock band playing the music of the Eagles works, Brock said it’s all about the music.
And asked why he likes to take the role of lead singer in this collaboration, which comes to The Bushnell in Hartford Saturday, Brock reiterated—it’s all about the songs.
“Glenn Frey and Don Henley (the chief songwriters and lead singers for The Eagles) are our Lennon and McCartney in terms of songwriting,” said Brock.
Henley is one of Brock’s top three favorite singers of all time. And Frey isn’t too far behind.
And Brock noted both approached the role of lead singer for The Eagles different. Frey was more country, he said. Henley was more rhythm and blues. For Brock to take on both roles in re-creating the music of The Eagles is an honor, said Brock.
“It’s been a blessing for 10 years,” said Brock.
The idea for “The Music of the Eagles” was Brent Haven’s of Windborne Music, said Brock. The organization experienced previous success with a show featuring the music of Led Zeppelin. And they were looking for similar artists to pay tribute to in combination with an orchestra, said Brock. The next artist tackled was Pink Floyd, which also was a success. Then Haven set his sights on a third artist for this kind of musical package.
And that’s when they came up with the idea of focusing on the music of The Eagles, said Brock.
The Eagles made sense 10 years ago when it was proposed, said Brock. The band recently had reunited and there was renewed interest in their music. And the idea of performing the music with an orchestra had an appeal to audiences, said Brock.
Brock—who sang backup with Kansas on that group’s album “Drastic Measures”– was brought in as a possible vocalist at the suggestion of signer Randy Jackson (who sang the lead vocals in the Led Zeppelin shows). Brock said he flew up to Virginia Beach to audition and before he left he had the gig.
Hartford actually was the first city to ever hear the “The Music of the Eagles” concert, said Brock. The band literally had wrapped up rehearsals, flew up to Connecticut, and found themselves before 12,000 people in an outdoor venue.
The first time stepping on stage and singing with the orchestra was “amazing,” said Brock.
But it also was nerve-racking, he said.
Brock said he and the band had been rehearsing for months prior to the Hartford show. But those rehearsals were just the band—they still had not played with an orchestra.
For each performance, Brock said the band for “The Music of the Eagles” flies out the day before to have a day of rehearsals with the designated symphony. “We run through the whole show in an afternoon and we’re reading to go.”
So the first time Brock stepped onto stage with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, he swallowed hard and plunged forward. And as the evening went on, he said he found his groove and couldn’t believe his good fortune that he was singing with an orchestra, singing the music of The Eagles… and getting paid to do it.
Brock’s favorite moment of each performance is the medley right before the break, which takes the symphony and band through “Desperado” to “Wasted Time” to “Take It to the Limit” to “Hotel California.”
“You can hear a pin drop,” said Brock through that string of songs.
“The orchestral arrangement is pretty incredible.”
Brock said the music of the Eagles adapts well for orchestration, especially the ballads. Songs of the quality and caliber created by Frey and Henley could be played on a kazoo and still sound good, said Brock.
“The Music of the Eagles” finds itself on the road now just a few weeks after the sudden passing of Frey.
“It was just so horrible he passed away too soon,” said Brock. “I felt so bad for the family and his kids.”
“I tell everybody now this is really a tribute band (of the Eagles)… I feel it is a blessing to carry on his legacy,” said Brock.
When the curtain closes at the end of the night at the Bushnell, Brock said he hopes audiences will reflect on the songs of Frey and Henley and how well the songs lend themselves to a symphonic setting.
“It’s a unique experience,” said Brock.
Brock also hopes they will reflect on their own memories of the music.
“This is the story of our lives,” said Brock of the songs of The Eagles. “It will take you back to when they first heard, ‘One of These Nights’ (or the other songs).”
The Hartford Symphony Orchestra Pops! Series presents “The Music of the Eagles” on Saturday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mortensen Hall at The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford. Tickets start at $21, $10 for students with ID. For tickets, call (860)987-5900 or www.hartfordsymphony.org