About the Fastlane Part 2
The Early Days of the Internet
So, here's some things you youngsters may not remember about the early days of the Internet:
- You had to log in using a modem. That meant that your phone line would be tied up.
- You had to use a service to get to the Internet. That means having an account through someone like AOL, Prodigy, or Compuserve
- When you used this service, you paid BY THE MINUTE. It was possible to have Internet bills in the hundreds of dollars. Unlimited Internet access was something that I didn't think would ever be possible.
- It was slow....it could take minutes for a picture to load...never mind a streaming video or song.
- Not everyone was on the Internet. Fans existed in pockets, here and there. You had to look hard to find people who liked the same things you did.
That's the world we entered when we first logged onto Prodigy and typed in the words "Don Henley". We immediately found a bulletin board where a discussion of Don was going on. There were others like us! There we found Jim and Mike, Vicky, Linda and Cheryl and a host of others who loved to talk about this band. We had great conversations there. I remember one that went on and on and on. It was about a comma. Seriously. The comma in question was in the line in "The Last Resort". We debated whether the line was "Jesus people" or Jesus, people". There's a difference in meaning, you see and if you'd love to debate it again, we'd love to debate it with you.
We continued to have Don adventures. In 1993, Don did a solo tour (with one of our favorite set lists ever) and performed 'Bein Green which we loved. We had followed the tour from Houston to Phoenix to California and that song was always a highlight. We sent Don a letter telling him so (after some pretty decent detective work to suss out his home address....we were young and stupid) along with a stuffed Kermit the Frog. After that summer, some exciting things happened for Eagles fans. Common Thread was released and the Travis Tritt video featuring the entire band hit the airwaves. We had a great time talking about that online with your cyberpals. In February of that year, we got a letter from Don. He thanked us for the frog and told us all about the fact that he had just recorded the song for the Kermit, Unpigged album. What he didn't mention and what he surely knew at that point in time was that THE EAGLES WERE GETTING BACK TOGETHER. That still remained a bit of a secret, but not for long.
Rumors and bits of news seeped through the cyber-ether and it soon became apparant that the Eagles would be getting back together. The community grew as more and more fans logged on to try to find out exactly what was going on. Would they release new music? Would they go on tour? How would we find out about it? It wasn't so easy back then to find out about ticket sales or album releases, but we worked together to make sure we knew as much as we could. In April, the band recorded the Hell Freezes Over Special, but I don't remember there being a lot of information released about it. That was pretty secret. We found out later that the people who attended the taping of HFO were all radio winners who were told they had won something, but not what. They were bussed to a secret location and didn't know what was going on until the Eagles took the stage. We continued to talk to our friends online.
Then the tour was announced. We got tickets. The hard way. We drove from the Rio Grande Valley to San Antonio (we actually heard about the tour on the radio down on the border...that's how big of news it was) to get wrist bands at a record store to get tickets. We had decided to go to San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. For the Houston and Dallas shows, we got tickets on Ticketmaster.....on the phone. Calling and getting a busy signal. Calling and getting a busy signal. Calling and getting a message that we were in a line. Waiting 45 minutes. Taking the seats they gave you when you finally got through to an operator. We had tickets, though, and we were ready to see the Eagles for the very first time.
(to be continued)