Back in 2016, at the 39th Annual Kennedy Center Honors celebrated James Taylor, Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, Argentine pianist Martha Argerich and the Eagles.
The annual broadcast usually featured one emotional performance (Remember when Heart completely crushed “Stairway to Heaven” as Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones looked on in 2012?), and December 27 was no exception.
Steve Vai, Colombian singer Juanes and Eagles guitarist Stewart Smith performed “Hotel California” in front of Eagles’ Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit.
Let’s get right to the business end of things: The truncated guitar solo gets off the ground at 2:35. Smith, who was hired by the Eagles in 2001 to replace Don Felder, kicks things off, followed by Vai at 2:49. Then they jump right into the famous dual-guitar section and wrap things up after a single go-around.
Check it out:
Although Walsh, Henley and Schmit nod their obvious approval at various points, one can’t help but miss Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, who died in January 2016—one of many celebrity deaths that year—at age 67.
The show featured several other performances of Eagles tunes, including Vince Gill’s reading of “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and Bob Seger’s rocking “Heartache Tonight.” You can watch them both—plus Ringo Starr’s introduction speech—in the bottom video.
See more Back In Time