The Eagles, O2 Centre, London

Click to follow

During their acrimonious 14-year-split, Don Henley told anyone who would listen that The Eagles would only get back together when "hell freezes over".

Well, Hades appears to be glacial and I'm shivering in its icy depths. The soft-rock quartet has just pummelled us with four songs from their latest double-disc opus, Long Road Out of Eden. It's a lamentable and creepy record and we hear far too much of it, including the interminably earnest and, yes, really long, title track where we're told "We're riding to Utopia/ Road map says we'll be arriving soon", and "Guilty of the Crime", which features the sinister lyric "I'm a stranger knocking on your door/No need to worry about the way I was before."

After treating us to the sort of music only the very wealthy can churn out when all their hunger has vanished, they give us a flat, perfunctory rendition of "Hotel California". The song's a dirge and a blight upon humanity, but it's also one of the most famous tunes on Earth. So where's the fanfare? I've heard better karaoke versions.

The pleasant paean to the country, "Peaceful Easy Feeling", is a lot better and the highlight of the evening. If they'd stuck to this kind of soporific strumming this three-hour endurance test might have been forgivable.

The uncharismatic foursome, all dressed in suits and black ties, are flanked by other musicians – including a saxophonist, a trumpeter and a violinist – who take up the slack and nullify the numerous dreary Joe Walsh guitar solos. And, surprisingly, Don Henley's hit "The Boys of Summer", a naff radio staple since 1984, is another highlight.

The Eagles' songs do have their moments. "Desperado" and "Take It Easy", both bizarrely absent tonight, are guilty pleasures and wonderful to warble when you're slightly sozzled. But this performance is a joyless affair, no one's dancing, and to top it all Timothy B Schmit looks and sounds like Milli Vanilli.

For an act that once supported Neil Young, this wretched conglomerate of sixtysomethings couldn't be further from Young's continual need to innovate. Like The Police, Culture Club, Level 42 and the legions of moribund outfits that should have never darkened our planet again they have nothing new to say.

To borrow from James Cromwell's farmer to his little porker at the end of the film Babe, "That'll do, Eagles. That'll do." Stop now, and take it, indeed, easy... But I fear you just can't kill the beast.

Also appearing at the O2 Arena on Wednesday and 5 April (