On the first night of his six-date residency, Joe Walsh padded onstage minus a guitar to address the audience in his affably scattered way. Everyone appreciated the gesture, even as they howled in affirmation when he asked if they were ready. God, were we.
Kicking off with a chugging take on his James Gang hit “Walk Away,” Walsh dug mightily into the song’s big, fat power chords. “Ordinary Average Guy,” a quirky 1991 pop success with cynical lyrics, was transformed into a moving paean for the common man, with images of working-class, well, Joes projected behind the band. And “The Confessor,” Walsh’s heaviest and best composition, was a full-throttle guitar-duel with fellow six-stringer Waddy Wachtel (Jackson Browne/Stevie Nicks sideman) stealing the show at times.
Walsh’s songwriting is laconic, idiosyncratic. What makes his music so damn charming, though, is his crackerjack six-piece ensemble (plus backup singers). If you need to hear the most sonically enriched version of his Barnstorm-era epic “Turn To Stone,” you should jump at the opportunity to see one of the remaining shows. If you want to wipe a tear from your eye during Walsh’s heartfelt tribute (“Take It To The Limit”) to his fallen Eagles bandmate and musical brother Glenn Frey, this is your chance. Don’t let it pass. ★★★★★
Joe Walsh Jan. 13-14, 18, 20-21, 7 p.m., $50-$390, Mandalay Bay, 702-632-7600.