I saw the Eagles perform last night. I bought the tickets six months ago, and put them by the side of my bed, and waited patiently for the night to arrive. Honestly, I have to say that I thought that something awful was going to happen and that I wouldn’t get to see the band that I had wanted to see so badly for ten years or longer.
Glen Frey said in the movie, “The History of the Eagles” that “people did stuff to our songs. They took trips, fell in love, had their hearts broken, got married….” (paraphrasing here). I remember the first time I ever heard the Eagles; I was in the back of my parents’ car, driving back from Michigan (somewhere in Nevada, I think) , and “Take It Easy” came on the radio. After days of nothing but country music, hearing Glen Frey singing “C’mon, baby, don’t say maybe” set my little pre-teen heart aflutter.
Forty years later, I sat in the dark last night and heard the band that lives in my heart as the Who does, even if they occupy a different area. The show last night was perfect, musically and emotionally, and I would see them again in a second. They re-did the arrangements for “Witchy Woman” and “Heartache Tonight” and gave both songs new feeling. Last night, I listened to the Eagles, and the thought came to me again, the same thought that came to me as I watched the Who the last two times, and it was not a comfortable thought.
The Eagles are definitely a well-oiled machine, and there are no bumps allowed in the road at this date. The show is big, and produced, and smooth, and well-rehearsed – it was definitely what I wanted to see from them, and I left wanting more, which I think is always the sign of a good show. But… it seems as if we’ve gotten to a place in musical history where our angry young men are now nostalgic elders who love music and are finished and polished, instead of raw and exposed. Maybe it’s natural progression, and it just happens as we get older. Except it isn’t, and it doesn’t. I loved the show; I felt as if there was little or no spontaneity, and that’s the way Glen and Don want it.
The Eagles have been through various band members, fought onstage, lifted Joe Walsh out of the deadly arms of addiction, and stayed incredibly popular, even during the ten-plus years that they weren’t a band. Last night original member Bernie Leadon joined them onstage, and it felt like a missing piece of the band was back in place. They ended the night with “Desperado,” and Don Henley’s voice took the song to a new place – it was the voice of a man who’s been there and back, and isn’t finished yet. It was an exquisite ending to the evening.