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TV Review: 'The Eagles: Hell Freezes Over'

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Unlike Neil Young’s notion of burning out rather than fading away, the mythos of the Eagles revolved around checking into the Hotel California, nodding out, and escaping life in the fast lane. Thus, the ultimate L.A. rock band’s recent reunion tour made a certain amount of sense: The group has always been up front about its cynicism, so it would be naive to call the tour a cynical moneymaker. But what mars The Eagles: Hell Freezes Over (MTV, Oct. 26, 9-11 p.m.) — two hours of the Eagles performing their greatest hits and a few new tunes — isn’t its exploitation of nostalgia but its phony-baloney dignity and stateliness. Having spent their ’70s salad days priding themselves on being sensitive-souled creeps, the Eagles present themselves here (in an April concert filmed at Burbank’s Warner Bros. Studios prior to the tour) as humble craftsmen, which contradicts the spirit of their music. The songs are impeccably played — if anything, Don Henley’s fine-sandpaper voice is more – expressive than ever-but lack the swagger and hard-boiled wariness that made tunes like ”Tequila Sunrise,” ”Wasted Time,” and ”Hotel California” believable. The result is wonderfully performed music by a bunch of blank- faced reprobates. C+