Backstage with The Long Run: Eagles Tribute Band rocks the Seabreeze Amphitheater

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On Dec. 14, Eagles Tribute Band, The Long Run, took the stage at Seabreeze Amphitheater at Carlin Park, delivering an unforgettable concert, charismatically carrying the night with music nearly indistinguishable from that of the Eagles themselves.

“With the music that we play, it goes cross-generational, so you see entire families together. You see mom, dad. You see the kids, you see the grandparents, and they’re all together, having a good time at the concert, dancing and singing along,” keyboardist Jonathan Washam, said. He was kind enough to invite me backstage for a pre-show interview with him and the rest of the band.

The Long Run has been performing since 2009, formed of Jonathan Washam on keyboard, Kevin Kelly on bass and vocals, Gary Wayne, Del Mize, and John Tillman, all on vocals and guitar, and finally, Dale Dorman, filling in for the band’s regular drummer.

“Lots of times you hear a band, and they have vocal harmonies. A lot of times you can abandon those. You may just have instrumental harmonies, but the Eagles have harmonies on both,” Washam said. “If you listen to their guitar parts, they’re doing harmonies with their guitars, you know with the leads in there, and they’re doing the same thing with their vocals, so you blend all of that together.” 

While Washam was talking about the Eagles themselves, The Long Run too are masters of their craft. The charismatic band has a clear on-stage chemistry, music-wise and non-music wise; a chemistry that is developed when best friends tour together for nearly ten years.

“I would give him my last french fry,”  Wayne said, offering the fry up to his bandmate.

“And I would take it,” Tillman said.

“And I would take it from him,”  Mize said, as he made a quick sprint across the room to steal the remaining french fry, “Lady And The Tramp” style, from Tillman’s mouth, causing the room to immediately fill with laughter.

Joining me were my two close friends and aspiring musicians, sophomores Sam Harding and Jainil Chokshi. Harding plays the drums, and Chokshi plays the piano and guitar, and on top of that, is a talented singer.

“Play as much as you can anyway you can in front of anybody you can,” Mize told my friends. 

“And lose yourself in the music,” Dorman added. 

Chokshi and the band bantered back and forth after Chokshi mentioned to the band he had just learned how to perform the Eagles song, “Tequila Sunrise.” They joked about calling him up to sing the song. “They weren’t serious, were they?” Jainil said after leaving the interview and returning to our seats.

They were serious. Chokshi, shocked and nervous, made his way up to the stage–doing his best to ignore the packed crowd–and sang with the band, showcasing not only the intimacy of the concert but the generosity of the band. One small act of kindness created a memory Chokshi will recall every time he listens to “Tequila Sunrise.”

In between songs, Wayne took a moment to talk to the crowd.

“Last night I went to the BB&T Center and saw Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Their audience was huge, but they’ve got nothing on you,” Wayne said.

Below the stage, we danced and sang along to some of the Eagles greatest hits, such as “Take It Easy,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Desperado,” and of course, “Hotel California.”

“Everybody can relate to their songs. They write very cinematically, so you can picture what they’re singing about,” Tillman told me when describing what he felt made the Eagles special, and how it felt to play their songs. “I love it every night, you know every night that we play, it’s not like it gets old, at all.”

The Long Run will be returning to Jupiter on Jan. 11 to perform free of charge at Abacoa Town Center. Mark your calendars (and by that I mean set a reminder on your phone), bring some foldable chairs and tell your friends. It’s going to be a night you won’t want to miss. 

The Carlin Park After Dark Tribute Band series will be continuing Feb. 14 with Chain Reaction (Journey Tribute) and April 25 with Solid Brass (Chicago Tribute).

For more information on The Long Run, visit their website