When the American rock band Eagles disbanded in 1980, a group of five musicians came together to fill the void.
However, unlike most tribute bands, Hotel California won’t dress like the band or even try to act like the band. But it’s guaranteed they will perform with the same passion for the music.
Most tribute bands put on wigs and costumes and mimic the band, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a good thing, Hotel California guitarist George Dickinson says. We don’t really do that. We manage to transcend a tribute, and more or less, make it our own.
The outdoor Foellinger Theatre will kick off a Summer Like No Other today with fan favorite Hotel California. With renowned bands like Little River Band, America, Kansas and Chicago headlining as national acts later in the season, Fort Wayne parks director Al Moll says it was important to open with an act that is a consistent crowd-pleaser. This will be Hotel California’s fourth appearance at the theater.
Last year, we started with Huey Lewis and the News, but since we couldn’t get a national group in May, we wanted to open up with a favorite, Moll says. There’s little risk for us, and it gets the season going.
As the concert series presents more nationally recognized bands, more time goes into procuring talent for the next summer season. Moll says that confirming Chicago, which is currently on a cross-country tour, for an August performance was a surprise.
It’s a venue that holds 2,500 people, and we’re going to have bands who are used to performing in front of eight, ten thousand people, he says. When you can bring in an act like Chicago that tours all over the world, it’s a no-brainer.
Moll says that the theater has already surpassed the ticket sales goal it needed to meet to break even for this season; all extra profits will go to the theater’s reserve, which can be used for the future sponsorships of concerts by other well-known artists. The theater’s reserve is also responsible for the affordable ticket prices.
This is all done with no impact on taxpayers; it pays for itself, Moll says. We are trying to create an experience that people can afford.
Dickinson says that he enjoys the history behind the 68-year-old building, which he says gives the venue its own vibe.
We have a great time. Fort Wayne is fun, Dickinson says. When we show up, it’s a blast right out of the gate. The people are excited and engaged, and they expect you to have a good time. It’s kind of like a homecoming every year.
A self-proclaimed perfectionist, Dickinson says it’s important for the band to become stronger and more professional musicians every year. Due to their growth, he says, the band continues to be sought after by more venues.
If you care about what you do, then you do it right, he says.
Since reorganizing the Foellinger Summer Series six years ago, Moll says the theater has become a venue of choice for bigger names due to the flexibility of the staff and the reputation that precedes the venue.
We really bend over backward for the entertainers, and that’s what they tell their colleagues, Moll says. So when we approach other entertainers, we’re not a foreign language to them.