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Life in the fast lane: Armadillos' Eagles tribute show rocks the Tornstrom

The Fabulous Armadillos will present “Takin’ it to the Limit” Sept. 28 at the Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd. The concert is presented by the Cultural Arts Series of the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center. Submitted1 / 2
The Fabulous Armadillos will present “Takin’ it to the Limit” Sept. 28 at the Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd. The concert is presented by the Cultural Arts Series of the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center. Submitted2 / 2

Returning by popular demand, the Fabulous Armadillos will present their tribute to Eagles' music called "Takin' it to the Limit" at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd. Presented by the Cultural Arts Series of the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center, the show marks the sixth performance of this show in the Brainerd area in the past six years.

Cultural Arts Series producer Patrick Spradlin stated in a news release it was an easy decision to include the show as part of the 2017-18 season.

"I've heard from so many people asking us to bring this show back," he stated. "We try not to repeat our events too much or too soon, but this one is the real exception to the rule. And, sadly, with the passing of Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, we're never going to be able to see the actual Eagles again. This show is as close as they come."

As of this date, Spradlin stated pre-sales of the show have reached close to 300 tickets.

"And we haven't even really fully advertised the show yet," he stated.

It's no small wonder, given the catalog of songs produced by the Eagles and their enduring popularity with music lovers of all ages. From their breakout hit "Take it Easy" through later songs like "Love Will Keep Us Alive" and "How Long," the band has had a profound impact on American popular music, Spradlin stated.

The Eagles are one of the world's best-selling bands of all time, having sold more than 150 million records—100 million in the U.S. alone—including 42 million copies of Their Greatest Hits from 1971 to 1975 and 32 million copies of "Hotel California." They are the fifth-highest-selling music act and highest-selling American band in U.S. history. No American band sold more records than the Eagles during the 1970s.​

The Fabulous Armadillos have established a reputation for top-quality musicianship. Known in

the St. Cloud area for their theme shows, when the band takes an idea like "One Hit Wonders" and plays songs that fit the theme, the band eventually branched out to produce tribute shows.

They've performed in Brainerd with shows like "Motown," "Floydian Slip: a Tribute to Pink

Floyd" and "Takin' it to the Streets: A Tribute to the Doobie Brothers." In April their theme

show "Guitar Heroes" played to a sold-out Tornstrom crowd. Their Eagles show has played to sold-out audiences in Brainerd, Staples, the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre and venues around the state.

For "Takin' it to the Limit," the Armadillos collaborated with another local band, Collective Unconscious. The birth of the show is described by Armadillos front man Greg Armstrong: "We started this in 2010 ... a local theater owner Dan Barth of Pioneer Place was telling Jeff Engholm for Collective Unconscious that they should do an Eagles show ... and they loved the Eagles but didn't think it would fit their band. Then he asked me (Greg) and I said 'I love the Eagles, but not sure it would fit our band either.' I called Dan later and said we should do it with the Collective Unconscious guys and little did we know Jeff thought about it and also called Dan about five minutes later, and said, 'How about we do it with the Fabulous Armadillos?' So, it was meant to be."

Armstrong stated, "We're now going into our sixth year of touring the show. It just keeps getting better and better."

The Fabulous Armadillos features Paul Diethelm on lead guitar; Mike Zeleny on bass; Jay O'Donnel on drums; Armstrong on keyboards; and Billy Scherer on guitar and lead vocals. Collective Unconscious consists of Jeff Engholm on lead vocals and guitar; Nathan "Nature" Nesje on guitar; Muggsy Lauer on guitar and vocals; and Richard Witteman on vocals.

Tickets for the concerts are available online at www.clcmn.edu/arts or through the CLC Theatre Box Office at 218-855-8199.

The show is sponsored by Katie and Randy Lee of Edina Realty, and the law firm of Breen and Person, Ltd.

The CLC Performing Arts Center season is made possible in part by an operating grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

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