The Best of the Rest; the Lesser-known Eagles Songs

by Marvin Matthews

I have had a 46 year love affair with the Eagles. From (almost) ‘day 1,’ and that opening G chord in “Take It Easy,” I was hooked. The ingredients I’ve always looked for in songs have been, strong vocals, harmonies, musical arrangements and melodic structure. The Eagles had all those ingredients in spades. Their chart success is well documented, having reached the top rungs of the Singles and Albums charts many times. Their songs will likely always stay in rotation on most “Classic” rock stations, keeping them in the minds of most for years to come.

 

For long-time fans there probably isn’t such a thing as an ‘unknown Eagles song.’ But there lies a wealth of songs that may have passed by the ears of casual listeners. So for those listeners, I’ll attempt to address some lesser-known songs that imo are still high-valued. These songs weren’t hit singles and therefore missed out from being on forever-rotation. If you don’t know them, find the time to listen to them.

Songs listed alphabetically.

After the Thrill Is Gone - from the ‘One Of these Nights’ album. Perfectly arranged dual lead vocal by Frey, with Henley on the bridge. If ever there was a perfect lyric written about success and all the pitfalls that come it’s, “what can you do when your dreams come true and they’re not quite like you planned.” As the closing song on the album, it presented the perfect lead-in (warning?) to what would come next - an album dealing with further confusion and delusion, ‘Hotel California.’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYi...

Business As Usual - their 2007 album, ‘Long Road Out of Eden’ doesn’t get much press, but it did have some strong material. Most of it came from the pen of Don Henley. This tune is similar in theme to much of Henley’s socially conscious solo music.

Busy Being Fabulous - From ‘Long Road Out of Eden.’ A really great Henley vocal, and the title (Frey’s idea?) sells a brilliant melody. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pxh...

Certain Kind of Fool - From the “Desperado” album, an aching lead vocal by Randy Meisner is what brings this song home. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJm...

Frail Grasp on the Big Picture - Henley again from ‘Long Road Out of Eden.’ A good example of his talent to turn phrases and write biting lyrics.

Good Day In Hell - From the extremely underrated ‘On the Border’ album. Welcome, Don Felder into the group, and the start of a sound that was much ‘harder’ than what audiences had come to expect from the band.

Hollywood Waltz - From ‘One Of these Nights,” I thought that this had ‘hit’ written all over it. Maybe because it was too close in sound and style to what was expected of the band, it was bypassed. Henley shines again on lead vocals. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAJ...

Is It True - From ‘On the Border.’ Don't know whether Randy ever delivered a prettier lead vocal, but his plaintive cry takes this song farther than anyone else could. Beautiful melody surrounded by immaculate harmonies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rd1...

Long Road Out of Eden - This song is majestic in its scope and coming in at 10:16, the longest running song in the Eagles repertoire. Henley crosses all the ‘t’s’ and dots the ‘i’s’ on this one; even though there are co-writers on the tune, I have to believe that it’s 99% a Henley tune. The only thing missing (for me) is a screeching Felder guitar solo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYm...

My Man - From ‘On the Border,’ feature one of Bernie Leadon’s finest vocals. Written about Gram Parsons, not long after he passed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbp...

On the Border - Love Henley’s vocals on this. It’s songs like this that people forget when they put the Eagles in that ‘Country box.’ A great early stab at R&B. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRm...

Outlaw Man - Written by David Blue, from ‘Desperado,’ it fit nicely into the theme of the album, while at the same time rocking as hard as anything the band was doing up to that point. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlj...

Saturday Night - Also from ‘Desperado.’ Highlights for me are Henley’s lead vocal, Leadon’s mandolin, and Meisner adding the “she said tell me, tell me..” vocal. Together they set a perfect mood. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMA...

The Sad Cafe - Written as a tribute to LA’s Troubadour Club, the closing cut from ‘The Long Run’ is achingly sad and a touching memory to the historic club. Maybe a bit of unintended foreshadowing, but a sad epitaph to what would be the last studio album for many years. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emy...

Train Leaves Here this Morning - From the debut album, this tune shines as a showcase for Bernie’s vocals and the band’s beautiful harmonies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNO...

Try and Love Again - From ‘Hotel California’ featuring an incredible lead vocal from Randy Meisner. In my mind, this should have been lined up as a single. Also features an understated yet perfect guitar solo by Frey. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFD...

Visions - Don Felder’s lone lead vocal during his time with the Eagles. This tune from ‘One Of these Nights,’ shows the funk/rock that Felder was able to provide that gave the band another musical weapon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I82...

Waiting in the Weeds - From ‘Long Road Out of Eden,’ lyrically this might be Henley’s finest hour with the Eagles. The imagery set in the story is perfect. If it had been released during the band’s peak period in the 1970’s, it would have been a hit single. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4G...

You Never Cry Like A Lover - Very underrated tune from ‘On the Border’ that is perfect in Henley’s hands. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFB...

 

 

 An Eagles Fan Runs Flying Down the Road  

 

July 24, 2017

Anita G Shepherd

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Most of us are grey and just blend into the sidewalk. But, on a

rare occasion and a unique street you discover a shining bright star.

A Conway, Michael J, an Elvis, Shakespeare, Princess Di

a Tom Selleck, a Duke, Sally Ride, Adele, Elton J, Babe Ruth.

When we become lucky enough to get a walkway combo of

Glenn Frey with Don Henley - Heaven is actually under our feet

and we never take a noted minute for grated.

 

It, a lifetime of Eagles-mania, all started for most of us by a flock

of winged warmed-blooded two legged long-haired amphibians

'running down the road'. What road and why on earth did we

follow is a forty plus years trip.

 

None the less, every single day every spellbinding song every

decade was a musical journey, taking us on unknown roads,

a street in AZ to a winding curvy drive into paradise. Whether

down a long dark desert highway in an Ol' 55 or heading into

a fast lane we tuned in to the beat, sang along, as we rode each

curved miracle mile. And, when a young-blooded diehard checked 

in or jumpedin we didn't want out.

 

I suppose I just take it for granted that every single human that

has ever breathed breathe knows that Henley and Frey are the

musical co-founders of the biggest selling American band of the

twentieth century.

 

But if you need to Google them be quick Henley is now

70 yrs young and sadly our beloved Glenn is no longer

here on this side of our highways. (Just please don't mention

to Don Henley that I used the word Google! Just kidding Don, just kidding, son.)

 

Recently this committed total 'Glenn Girl' fan took yet another

trip and flew into Dallas for Don Henley's 70th Birthday bash.

Stagnant air doesn't get much heavier, bone stifling dry or

sweat drenched humidity rise much thicker than when you are

in Texas in late July and Henleyville is in town for a whirlwind

mind-blowing concert, a birthday celebration and a private

meet n greet.

 

Now, for full expose I have had the incredible privilege of

meeting Henley before and am truly thankful to have seen him in

many diverse venues. He is one Southern that never disappoints,

gets right to the heart of the matter, always goes above and

beyond any expectation and delivers us all to an endless serene

highway foreign or known.

 

Yes, that is not a typo Henley is from Texas.

I understand, I too being Southern born and bred always think

who on God's green planet from east Texas sounds like this man!

 

But, back to focus, the bash began with vintage varied radio waves from

rafters what tunes what messages what a diffusing reminder of Henley's

brilliance. Many attended the gala. Big time celebs Patty Smyth and

Stevie Nicks arrived in grand fanfare to provide B-day praises and

stunning chart topping hits to/with Henley. Of course other Eagles,

Timmy and Walsh whom we adore as well were in attendance for this

incredible event. Kinda odd to see Eagles perform with no Frey in tow.

Bittersweet, but we didn't focus on abstinence and soaked up the enjoyment.

 

Henley sang beautifully-ravishingly perfect and he drummed! Patty in

sparkling silver 'disco ball' jacket (guess she visited Uncle Joe's wardrobe

department) the band, backups, the musicians, Stevie beating the tambourine

were in the same rare astounding form. It was a remarkable impressive party

time in party town ending with a Beatles ensemble treat and white balloons

raining down from those rafters.

•      


*Timothy B Schmit Don Henley Stevie Nicks Joe Walsh Patty Smyth

 

 

Is there anyone on this side of reality more humble, striking or gifted

than D Henley? That stirring voice, that insight, that mannerism, that

talent, that presence unparalleled.

 

I fumbled highly intimidated to try with poor attempt to explain to

anyone within earshot of what he and especially Glenn meant to me

in my past immature smitten silly lifetime of years ago (whew thank

goodness those type years are over and I 'a' adult now!)

 

As for the following day so much occurred that it would take

weeks to cover. One thing Henley did mention was that he now has

a voice coach to assist with getting his beat-up voice back in shape

and prep for shows. Wait what, a coach to help Don Henley with

that voice. Oh lord say it ain't so Joe please don't change a note.

 

Yet, probably most important to me was simply seconds at his right

hand. Henley always seems slightly nervous when I speak or get near

him (ok probably just bored.) Honestly, I did beg him to smile at which

he replied 'I am trying darling'. Words we live for and thankfully not

'Security!' Bless his heart, I know he wanted to run back to any highway

and face the big trucks on a twelve lane rather than be forced to stand

there calmly patiently, warmly smiling with a simple minded red-head.

Guess after all these decades he has learned to be still...of course I do

 

declare he is as always a true Southern gentleman.

                          

How is he suppose to look into our heart and understand? Of course, if

anyone could it would be Don Henley (if you are a diehard you get that!)

 

Now, Henley is moving forward yet again. Or will he stand still?

Stated last year he was considering a soulful album of sorts no

remark on this potential. But that would be absolutely amazing.

He holds the riveting treasure of that raspy liquid tenor voice created

to belt out blues or peel Lucite paint from the walls. Listening to the

man sing 'Hold On I'm Comin' or'Midnight Hour' blows your lugnuts

right off the tire rims-it maybe the ending yelp that grips ya.

 

Not, that every note the man writes or sings isn't simply pure heaven.

A voice coach-really, please. He is an icon and truly a musical genius.

There is a reason his greatest enemy named him Golden Throat.

 

He has quite a zest for life, music, the wide open lanes and

byway like so few probably could still handle at seven decades.

Which as he calmly explains and shrugs 'it's just a number'.

Hmmmm, 70 just a number?

Thankfully, he is still crafting astonishing songs, holding court,

running down the road and fulfilling dreams-his and ours.

 

Henley updated Classics news on Seattle and Atlanta (he 'thinks')

with Doobie Brothers later in year with possibly more dates/cities

to follow depending on attendance and health. Well, more we all pray.

 

Currently, Henley is in middle of the Classics singing with

his chosen Eagles team band. Which began last weekend and

included Glenn's son Deacon Frey and Vince Gill. Of course

it exceeded all expectation.

 

What an outstanding start your engine revenging open Deacon

contributed. Roar on 'Small Frey'. He pushed the metal to the

floorboard-as they all did. What a show! It's thrilling to be witness

to a new birth with Deacon-right there at and with a beginning future

full of promise and possibility. Gosh, what another amazing side road

or new path on the ride's journey!

 

Personally at first, I had mixed complicated emotions about his

decision for the bands future. Not bitter, delighted, anger,

ecstatic feeling just odd feelings. And who on earth would

ever judge Don Henley or any choice he makes in life?

 

Well two years ago they were done, now they're back (briefly?)

they're singing on stage today, they could tour or not. Well? Well...

 

Just sometimes with the Eagles you ride the emotional

roller coaster. Thrills and unknowns. Up, down, curves,

highs, rapid drops, twists, slows, stops.

 

At Classics event, Henley did as before note this ride could

wind down to the end of the line for the band. Scary thought.

I always fear Henley is not going to get off the road and in

the same instance I am petrified he will get off the road!

 

What if he does? Would he still solo? Could Henley take an

exit route, a detour and never come back? Well, I'm back to the

roller coaster. What would we all do this time if the band took

another 14 yr hiatus?

 

Henley has said in the past at times this is our last hurrah.

We all know he will tell you he has changed his mind before.

Then, in Dallas he states (thankfully) 'I'm not done rocking.'

Lord, son you are killing me! But I just keep paying for the

token and get back on the ride with all the steadfast.

 

This exciting ride has been up functioning for a long, long time.

Could it start wearing down? Repairs and modifications have been

constant but will the coaster be plowed over for a newer structure?

Could it check out or end-up at or as the Last Resort?

 

Now I am thrilled that he is considering doing what he loves,

taking others along for a ride even if it may be a short trip.

Or taking a much needed well-deserved break if that's his choice.

 

As for putting Glenn's son under his wing in whatever fashion for

this one thing alone I feel Glenn would be smiling and in complete

agreement. Henley mentioned in Dallas how strange it was to go on

without Glenn and that from his drum playing view of Deacon on stage

(& the hair) it was 'heartwarming and freaky at same time.' Deacon

will be a great asset in any form to our musical world.

 

And, Deacon Blues has sang and played with Glenn from the

time he could stand up right and hold a guitar. The teacher and

the student. If anyone is ready and able to follow closely in

Glenn's foot print, Deacon has been preparing and prepared

well by Glenn's lead and guiding hand.

 

However long or brief Deacon makes a solid professional choice

teaming up with Henley just like his dad did so long ago. After all

look where it took daddy.

 

Henley will metaphorically take Deacon's hand now, mentor,

continue to assist his pals son toward his destined path. The

masters and the novice. The legends and their beginner.

The Frey torch passes.

 

Yet, Eagles doesn't seem to be Eagles without Glenn.

Nobody will ever be Glenn Frey.

 

As for this staunched loyalist I have learned to take what I can get

while it's running down the road. Maybe that's settling and we all

know this band don't settle.

 

Deacon's not Glenn but that's understandable and no one should expect

Glenn reincarnated. He's first class assuredly or Henley wouldn't allow

him to be a new addition...or a part of whatever is ahead.

 

People came and people went separate ways with the E's.

Bernie Leadon left here's Joe Walsh. Now that's was quite a

reincarnation. That took a while for adjustment. I was ticked

with Glenn. What are you doing? Added a whole different cart

to the amusement park adventure.

 

Walsh brought a strange trip to mid 70's style fear attempted fun,

rare shenanigans, debauchery sliding and possibly vomiting

(not the Timothy/Henley joke, the Joe conquered and survived raw

stuff.) Selfishly, I adore Bernie and always will-now I can't image

the ride without Uncle Joe.

 

That speaks to what a visionary Glenn was. Then Randy walked,

so into the mix came Timmy. Changes occurred decisions recast

but the same music played on. However, that sound will never be

echoed again live. Never period. January 18th that music ended.

 

Prior, much has been noted on Frey hand-picking ever single

member associated with this band. Henley, Walsh, Timmy, Satan,

even Bill Szymczyk and Jack Tempchin. Ok, so maybe Henley

was a packaged deal as far as the early Glenn outlook but what

an incredible packaged gift!

 

So, as an outsider looking in I believe in my heart that Glenn is

content and highly pleased with all Henley's hand-picked decisions.

That's what matters most. Whatever they develop into or not and

wherever the destination leads or not... revisions that's life.

 

I have learned Don Henley is an extremely wise man. In hindsight,

he is conscious of every element, observant and always seems

to make the best decision for the band, the fans, and for himself.

 

Thus, when you find something on life's path-that is not illegal

and you enjoy you should jump on the band wagon and take off

down the road, don't look back, learn to be still, enjoy the silence.

Henhen says it's golden.

 

If you are an Eagles fan like myselfas should be evident by this

point you know first there is no the, you probably understand how

to enjoy the music and the silence, the road is nearer the end than

the begin. And if you love this band, want to see these bright

shining stars fly while singing as we drive down the music row 

of life you should get there now. Sadly, that road may dead-end

one day and it could be real, real soon.

 

No regret here in my bland corner on my dim destination blended into 

the pavement musical journey, except in the tearful devastated Glenn

department and that's a whole other atlas for another mapped passage

travel on the vast Eagles highway...and I may have more words to

communicate on that voice coach decision...hmmmm interesting...

well another token for our colorful amusement roadway.

 

 

Happy Birthday Don Henley -- Why We Are Fans

Today is Don Henley's 70th birthday. Instead of his fans bestowing gifts on him, he is giving them a giant present in the form of a special birthday concert in Dallas. To celebrate that, we thought we would jot down some thoughts on why we are fans of Don Henley. 

1.  His songs. They have got to be #1, right? Don is inarguably one of America's leading songwriters. The work he applies to his craft is impeccable. For us, it's mostly about the lyrics and nobody can turn a phrase like Don can. He can take a common phrase like "Dirty Laundry" or "If Dirt Were Dollars" or "Best of My Love" and turn it into hit. His lyrics are sprinkled with literary references, biblical passages and raw emotion. He name drops everyone from Charles Baudelaire to Merle Haggard to Elvis. He's written probably the most beautiful and poetic critique of the Reagan administration. His songs touch you where you are...they evoke life in small towns, the love of family, nostalgia and hope for the future. They connect us all and we are better for having heard them.

2.  His voice.  There's a common saying that someone could sing the phone book and everyone would listen. That's probably true of Don. His singular and unique voice is a wonder to listen to. People try to describe it with words like "whiskey tinged gravel" or "twangy rasp" but how do you describe something that is hard and soft at the same time? How do you put words to a voice that is urbane and homey? When you hear Don sing, you know it is him and his voice draws you in. It is a joy to listen to. And nothing makes us weak in the knees like his vocals on "Leather and Lace".

3.  His brain.  Don is smart. We mentioned above the literary references he peppers in his lyrics. He reads and he processes and he makes connections. If you've ever had the chance to listen to him give a speech you can tell how much he works to gather information and put it together in a way that makes sense. He remembers obscure facts and details and uses them to back up his points. He asks questions and demands answers. He can speak about history or politics or literature with ease. In a culture that celebrates stupidity and ignorance, Don is a breath of fresh air.

4.  His heart. Don is kind and he is giving. Glenn once spoke about how he and Don prefer to be quiet givers. He gave the example of how Don bought band uniforms for a high school or books for a library in North Dakota without bragging or needing praise or recognition. He gives his time, his money and talent to causes he believes in. He has worked tirelessly and given thousands of dollars to protect wild places, artists rights and basic Constitutional freedoms. We also appreciate how Don uses his heart to better the places that are important to him. Walden spoke to him as a young man, so he felt inspired to help preserve it for others who felt the same way. Not content, though, to take care of this place so far from his home, Don then turned his attention to his backyard...to his hometown of Linden and nearby Caddo Lake. We love that Don tells people to find their own personal Walden and to work to improve their own communities as he has done for his corner of East Texas. We can all make a difference where we live. The world is full of special places that need help and Don has led the way.  Speaking from personal experiences, there have been a few times when Don has gone out of his way to help us with a sticky situation and we are extremely grateful for that.

5.  His humor. Don is a funny guy. Listen to him at a concert shutting down a heckler by remarking, "I remember when I had my first beer!". He can tell a story like the time he almost got beaten up at the Troubadour with self-deprecation and heart. He has got a warm, genuine smile and uses it more frequently than people give him credit for.

6.  His relationship with Glenn.  Like Glenn said at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the relationships in the Eagles had peaks and valleys. We were witness to some of that. We know that sometimes Don was frustrated with Glenn. We know that they broke up in 1980. But they remained close. They found a way to make it work. We've mentioned this before and I think we do so often because it was such a profound thing to witness, but everything you want to know about how Don felt about Glenn was on display when Don shut down the Felder heckler in Detroit on Glenn's birthday. That was when Glenn was sick, but few people knew it and the emotion wrapped up in Don's righteous anger, showed how deeply Don felt for his bandmate, songwriting partner and surrogate brother. 

7.  His fans.  We know he doesn't control who likes him and who doesn't, but the online community of Don Henley and Eagles fans is comprised of some of the greatest people on the planet. Just like Don, they are smart and funny. They have enormous heart and talent. They have your back when others don't. We have made so many friends and met so many generous, kind and amazing people in this community. Don (and the Eagles) is the tie that binds us and group of fellow fans has enriched our lives.

8.  The whole package. Don is a very handsome man. That's all we'll say there.

So there you have it. Happy Birthday, Don. We look forward to hanging with you this weekend.

This was our attempt to explain why we are fans of Don Henley. Why are you?

 

Classic West

Eagles will take the stage at Classic West in a few short hours and we aren't there.

We thought about going, but as we posted in a previous blog entry, finances, schedules and the fact that we just don't like stadium/festival shows played a part in deciding to skip this one.

We've been there for a lot of the band's big moments. We were in the room when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We rang in the new millennium with the band in Los Angeles.  We were at Glenn's last public show. We've been there for a lot.

And now it's sinking in that we aren't there for this. Hearing Jim Ladd talk about how everyone is rooting for the Eagles tonight caused a bit of a pang. We are rooting for them. We're thinking of all of the emotions that must be present...the bittersweet nature of performing without Glenn for the first time and the pride everyone must be feeling towards Deacon for stepping in for his dad in what has to be a pretty scary situation for any young performer.

There's a photograph out there on the Internet of a toddler Deacon clad in Power Rangers jammies, holding a guitar that's way too big for him.  His dad's arms are around him, guiding him and showing him how to hit just the right notes.  We're sure that same situation will be repeated tonight (minus the Power Ranger jammies). 

Tonight marks a new chapter in the story of our favorite band. It's a different chapter, but we're excited to see how it all turns out. We're looking forward to the reviews and the reports from fans who are there. We're certain this will be a fitting celebration of what Glenn meant to both all of the people on stage and the people filling the stands.

They are the Eagles from Los Angeles and tonight, despite the tragic circumstances, they have come home to soar one more time. We are all there in spirit with them.

 

Who We Are and What We Do....

The Fastlane is an Eagles website located at http://www.eaglesfans.com. We've been in existence in one form or another since 1996 (the Hell Freezes Over Era).  The website has expanded to include a Facebook Fan Community page and several Facebook groups.

We started as a paper newsletter, transitioned to a website and now we're doing our best to connect fans with social media.

We've attempted to tell our story in long-form (and one day it will actually get finished). 

In a nutshell, we have a few things that we try our very best to do:

  • Provide news about the Eagles. We started out as a news source and we continue to strive to bring you the most current Eagles news out there. We've had band members (Timothy) tell us they check our site to find out what is going on.
     
  • Provide a place for critical discussion about the band. We have always welcomed ALL opinions about the band. We aren't sycophants and we don't expect you to be. If we don't like something we'll say so. Not everyone is going to like every single thing this band does and we won't censor your opinion for saying so. That being said, we are primarily about celebrating all of the amazing things about the Eagles.
     
  • Provide a place for community. We want people to connect and discuss. We've made lasting friendships in this community and we want others to do the same. You won't find a better group of fans of anything anywhere on the Internet. Maybe we're a little biased.
     
  • Provide a place for content. We've got a collection of stuff that we are always working on sharing. We aren't that much about posting random photos or videos that anyone can find with a simple google search. We do provide one photo of the day, but don't want to clog your feeds.  If checking out photos and videos is your thing, we suggest you join one of our groups (we'll link to them below). We do hope, though, that people discuss the photos and videos. That's where the magic happens.  Additionally, after seeing a number of Eagles and solo concerts, we've had some pretty cool experiences that we do our best to share with you here. We encourage you to share your stories as well.
     
  • Respect the band. This band, its management, and its support system has been incredibly kind and gracious to us over the years. We've had some amazing opportunities. We do our best to respect their wishes by not posting YouTube videos or video or audio recordings that are commercially available. We know that you'll respect them as well.

So...that's what this page and this community is about. We are always open to feedback and suggestions (eaglesfans@gmail.com).  This community may not be for everyone and that's cool. That doesn't mean, though, that we won't stop trying to deliver the best content and support the best community we can. We look forward to seeing you around and getting to know you.

Here are the links to our Facebook groups:

Eagles Appreciation Group: -- http://tiny.cc/EAG
Glenn Frey Appreciation Group--http://tiny.cc/GFAG
Don Henley Appreciation Group--http://tiny.cc/DHAG
Joe Walsh Appreciation Group --http://tiny.cc/JWAG
Timothy B. Schmit Appreciation Group --http://tiny.cc/TBSAG

The 1996 Tour Road Trip

In the summer of 1996, a group of us rented a van and followed the band along the East Coast. It was a memorable trip, that's for sure. Names have been changed to protect privacy.

 The Beginning

"You girls be careful. Don't talk to any strangers."

"You're not going to be doing that thing where you pass bodies through the crowd, are you?"

"No, you don't need to call every day. I'll just keep telling myself that no news is good news."

"You're doing WHAT???? Do you know these people? Can you trust these people????"

All of our moms naturally had last minute words of advice. We knew when to call, who not to speak to and C. knew not to run up and down the aisles at the concert. We knew they had nothing to worry about, though. We were off on the adventure of a lifetime. 

We (L., V., C., Lisa and Melissa) all assembled ourselves at L's house outside of Pittsburgh. We chose Pittsburgh because of their airport's strict safety standards (they finally got their lights working at night), strong rumors that L. and airplanes don't get along and the fact that it was a pretty central location. We rented a Dodge Grand Caravan, that surprisingly could fit all of our luggage (despite a prohibition from Dollar that we not haul anything on the roof). We set off early on Saturday morning fortified by donuts from L's mom and wet, sloppy kisses from Odie, the Dalmatian puppy. 

Our first day's journey took us through scenic Pennsylvanian, West Virginian, Virginian, North and South Carolinian countryside. We passed through places with poetic names like Big Otter, decided that maybe we wouldn't be stopping at any more Hardees (despite their great kids meal toys), and gazed in wonder at THE BIG PEACH (a water tower that looks like a fuzzy peach from one angle and a part of the lower anatomy from another). 

Finally, we made it to our first destination...Clemson, South Carolina, a sleepy college town ripe with anticipation for the big rock concert the next day. Checking into the Ramada, we hooked up with R. and S. and spent the evening laughing, talking, eating pizza, looking at pictures and getting ready for the show the next night. The next day, A. and L2 arrived and we also got to meet a new friend, T.. It was time for our first Eagles show of 1996.

Clemson, South Carolina - June 16, 1996

Traffic was heavy driving into Death Valley (the cute, friendly name these South Carolinans gave their sports stadium). Other people seemed to have the right idea and had erected tents, lawn chairs and webers for pre-game festivities. Local frats were replenishing their coffers after graduation parties by charging concert-goers for the privilege of parking on their frat house lawns. Heck, you know its damn festive when not only can you order boiled peanuts, but you can get a job selling them on the spot.

V. had a sure fire method for finding primo parking spots and it paid off. In no time flat, we were in the stadium, ensconced in our really crappy seats and were setting new world records for sweating (oops, A. and L2 are from the south--they were perspiring). As we pondered how anyone could keep cotton candy from melting in the 100 degree heat, we were approached by D. from Ohio. We had been looking forward to meeting her, but didn't have much time to chat before the show got underway.

David Spero, Joe's manager, played the proud papa as The Michael Stanley band, a member of his talented stable, took the stage to warm up the already physically hot crowd. The tickets said the show started at 6....it was already 7 pm and no sign of the Eagles....but wait, we did have great seats for viewing the backstage area right outside the dressing room (of course we had to use high powered binoculars). Joe Walsh was walking around and Scott Crago could occasionally be seen attending to something or another. We're sure the Michael Stanley Band is a great group of musicians with something important to say, but to be honest, in the heat and the excitement, the only thing we can remember is that they sang a song about underwear.

Finally, we heard the familiar lie as Tim Lamb told the crowd the Eagles would be taking the stage in 5 minutes. It wasn't really all that dark, but 15 minutes later, the familiar sounds of thunder and the faint flashes of lightening filled Death Valley. It's easy to become jaded after seeing the show more than once, but it was pretty incredible. Five tiny guys took the stage. We were leaning over the heads in front of us to get a better look. A. grabbed Lisa's hand for support and announced breathlessly, "They're BLUE!!!!!" And she wasn't talking about Henley's eyes. Yes, the band was dressed for comfort on this hot night and that meant that Henley had donned (don't you love using that word in conjunction w/ Henley's clothing?) nothing but a white t-shirt and blue jeans. We were further astounded to see that Don was also wearing sneakers. Joe and Glenn were attired in their familiar t's and loose fitting guy shirts, Felder was wearing his brown leather vest, white shirt and blue jeans and Tim was wearing something maroon (sorry C, we're drawing a blank here). They were fantastic. Every note was in place, every harmony right on, and everyone was SMILING. They looked like they were having the time of their lives up there on stage...and those of us in the audience were having a similar experience.

We were a bit disappointed that the set list didn't seem to have changed, but we were really pleasantly surprised when right before what should have been "Girl From Yesterday" Glenn announced that those who may have seen the show before were in for a few surprises. They didn't wait a second to surprise us and launched right into "Peaceful Easy Feeling". There, under the open sky of the stadium, in the sweltering summer night, there couldn't have been a more perfect song. Joe's "Ordinary Average Guy" was its usual lighthearted self. We noticed that the slide show had changed a little over the break and now included pictures of the crew on the Australian leg frolicking with various members of the marsupial family. We didn't want to know.

Much too soon it was time for the intermission. We spent it rehashing the first part of the show and eagerly anticipating what surprises were around the corner. As the lights came up for "Tequila Sunrise" we noticed how beautiful the lighting was. We had never noticed so many colors before and even from the distance we were at, it was an eye-catching show. Between songs, Glenn mumbled something about it being Father's Day and that it was the first time all 5 Eagles were fathers.

The second part of the show did not disappoint. The whole stadium was on their feet from "You Belong to the City" to the last strains of "Take it Easy". Probably the most heart-stopping moment of the evening came when instead of the opening to "Smuggler's Blues," the band launched into "The Heat is On." We had never thought we would hear this song live...at least not done by the Eagles. Melissa went into some sort of screaming fit and even garnered the concern of a nearby topless drunk guy. We were right, though. Henley was no where near a microphone during the 'Whoa oh oh oh's". He just calmly played an intricate pattern on that classic rock instrument...the cowbell.

The surprises weren't over, though, and neither was the great music. All of them were in top form, but we were a little concerned about Joe who seemed under the weather. Don Felder smiled and smiled, and Timothy's voice was as clear and as beautiful as when he was in Poco. The first encore included a very interpretive version of "All She Wants to Do is Dance". Henley half sang, half spoke the song in a sort of sexy Rod McKeun sort of way. Let's just say we were all excited.

The show then proceeded in the normal way with "Rocky Mountain Way", "Already Gone", "Desperado" and "Take it Easy". Needless to say, that night, Death Valley was very much alive.

Greensboro, North Carolina- June 17, 1996

We were sitting in the Embassy Suites in Greensboro and we were very nervous. In fact, we had V. and C. continually running down to the bar for free happy hour beer while we passed the time waiting for the film crew to get there....let's backtrack just a little.

The day after Clemson, we drove back up to Greensboro, NC for yet another show. During the haul, we persuaded LT, our stalwart driver to make a stop at THE BIG PEACH. We even videotaped it. We found out later from D. that there had even been postcards available. Stops at the souvenir stand were not allowed for us.

All five of us checked into one suite and began to get ready for the show. That's when D. called us. She had a deal for us. D is a news producer in Columbus, Ohio and had arranged for us to be featured on the local news. None of us felt very photogenic, but we had our arms twisted. As we all rushed to get a little more photogenic, we watched the same folks who were supposed to come film us on the 5 o'clock news. We were a little dismayed to hear from the reporter that THIS WAS IT FOREVER FROM THE EAGLES. That seemed a little odd since only a few days before, Henley had said himself that they were going to wait to talk about things. We decided to nail the news crew on this bit of BS they were feeding the masses.

Eventually, Beth (perkiness personified) and her cameraman Brian invaded our suite. They wanted pictures of everything. Pictures of the Web page, pictures of our ticket stubs, pictures of our dirty pizza dishes. We gave them a short interview and then Lisa flipped through one of the photo albums while Brian filmed. He asked a few questions.

Beth and Brian thought they were being cute by following us out to the car to film us getting into the van (they intended on playing "Life in the Fast Lane" to close the piece). We were driving to the venue when the news van pulled up alongside of us and started filming again. We thought we had lost them. We got to the show, parked and were walking in when there was Brian again. He wanted to film us going through the turnstiles. Thankfully, he didn't follow us any longer. We could now concentrate on the show.

We had seats in the very back of the arena, but that let us take in the full stage. The show was just as phenomenal as the night before. Highlights included Glenn actually licking the microphone during "You Belong to the City" and then sitting on the side of the stage for "Rocky Mountain Way

It's too bad some enterprising soul didn't rip his ugly bowling type shoes from his feet and make a run for it. 

After the show, we tiredly, but happily, made our way back to the hotel. By the way, it was Melissa's birthday and by midnight it had turned into C's birthday. What a way to party.

Virginia Beach, Virginia - June 19, 1996

"Dammit, when are they going to show the local forecast? They keep showing the European weather!...okay wait, there it is. Geez, it looks like its heading right for here....someone look outside. It's raining." 

"Maybe if we had stopped at the CBN visitor's center like I wanted to, we wouldn't be having this problem. Pat Robertson could personally be taking care of this little weather problem for us."

"Shut up, Melissa!"

Weather was on everyone's mind in the Hampton Inn in Virginia Beach. The Atlantic was experiencing its first tropical depression of the season...almost right over where the next concert was going to take place. We knew the band was RnRing it in Hilton Head, SC and we were worried that they could even get out of there with current weather conditions. This was one show that couldn't be canceled. We had 2nd row seats.

The day of the show, with an anxious eye to the weather, we had a great lunch at the Olive Garden with quite a group of online friends. Ch had organized the entire fete. Our little group (D and K had become auxiliary members) had picked up P (who thankfully had decided not to fly Valu-Jet) and at the restaurant, we met B, A, J and her mom. Ch had also arranged for a local reporter to be present. So, over laughter and pasta, we all told our tales. After the group picture, we made a bee-line for the arts and craft store because we had wanted to make a few signs for the show.

The sun finally came out allowing us to go for a swim and to then prepare for the show. Little did we know that this evening was going to be the highlight of the entire trip!

The seats were awesome. We personally had never sat so close to the stage before. It was incredible...we were so close we could see that the amps were set at 9 (not 11?). We were a little off to Tim's side, but that didn't matter. We could see everything. Shortly before the show started we got a nice surprise. Sitting right next to us was a WT subscriber and his young daughter. We hope they had a great time.

(From this point on, all Eagle "encounters" experienced by us in the 2nd row were verified by at least 2 people. If they actually did not occur or if they are a product of our over-active, over interpretive imaginations FOR LAND'S SAKE, LET US HAVE OUR LITTLE FANTASIES). We knew it was going to be an interesting show when Timothy Drury and Scott Crago took the stage and seemed to be looking for someone in the audience. Let us explain.

Timothy had recently posted on America Online about his new album. While on the trip, we had briefly exchanged e-mails and had told him that we would all wave at him from the 2nd row. We certainly had no intentions of frightening him. He came out, we all waved. He waved back. It was a great way to start the show. 

Everything from the 2nd row seemed bigger and brighter and more animated. Our eyes were glued to the stage. We could see how TimothyS. kind of leered while he played, we could see the designs on Joe's shirt, we could see the little droplets of singing by-product (spit) emanating from Glenn's mouth, we could see that WONDERFUL smile on Don Felder's face....the only thing we couldn't see was Henley's head. It was hiding behind a cymbal....but that was okay. Even the sound was better in the second row. We could hear little nuances and the stage talk between songs. We were in HEAVEN for the first set. It was only going to get better.

During intermission, Scott Crago came down into the seats with a fistful of drumsticks which he proceeded to distribute to the kids in the first few rows. We were thinking that maybe we could pass V off as an eleven year old, but it didn't work.

Words cannot describe what it was like for all of us during the acoustic set. We won't even try. After "You Belong..." Glenn introduced the backup guys and we held up a sign with Timothy Drury's screen name just so that he would understand that we weren't any group of freaks sitting in the 2nd row...we were HIS freaks. The connection was made. Then Don came out for "Boys of Summer". Tim S. grabbed him before the song started and gestured over by us. Don squinted and then nodded and then told Frey (and we all saw this) "That's them." Glenn then looked at us and laughed. We weren't sure if this was a good thing, but we sure got excited. We all continued to make eye-contact with the band throughout the rest of the show. Don Felder was certainly amused by us (not as amused as he would be in a few days) and kept looking at us while Joe sang(?) "Life's Been Good". Cand V reported that it looked like Felder was waiting for some sort of reaction. After Joe sang the "They write me letters tell me I'm overweight" line and we all flipped out (we're so predictable, aren't we?) Felder laughed at us yet again. 

We didn't want it to come to an end, but eventually it did. During "Take it Easy" we suddenly remembered that we had brought signs for the band. The sign about Glenn's ugly shoes was forgotten about, but instead, V and Lisa struggled to hold up a very floppy piece of tag board that read "Good Party". Timothy S. witnessed this struggle and looked confused and amazed that we couldn't coordinate a simple sign. Eventually, though, just V held the sign. Glenn FINALLY saw it, tipped it head back and let out a huge GLENN GUFFAW. V then swears that Glenn sang the rest of "Take it Easy" to her, but D thinks otherwise. Man, we had a great time.

Sadly, though, we had to clear out of town. We went back to P's room, changed and left enough good service coupons to get Ron, the friendly desk clerk, promoted to regional director. Then we loaded up on junk food and started the long, nighttime trek to Penn State.

State College, Pennsylvania - June 20, 1996

"Could you make sure that Timothy Drury gets these flowers?" pleaded Vin her most innocent voice.

"DRURY????" replied the husky security guard.

"Yes, DRURY!!!"

"Oh, okay. He'll get them"

"Thank you, sir"

It would've seemed that the only one on stage to ever receive flowers during the show was Don Henley. We wanted, though, to give some (plus a Philadelphia Eagles balloon) to Timothy. He seemed so nice and friendly...he was always waving. The flowers got put on top of a crate and we spent almost the rest of the show watching in horror as the cameraman trampled all over them. Eventually, though, they got taken backstage. Mission accomplished.

Just a few hours earlier, it seemed like there wasn't even going to be a show. Due to weather conditions, the Eagles weren't able to get their plane out of Newark. We kept hearing announcements that the show would be delayed until they got there. We were continually assured, though, that they were en route. The delay did give us time to meet up with several more people, though.   We were very excited to meet J who was going to share our extra seat with us. We even got a surprise whenP2 had an usher come get us so that we could talk with her. It was a lot of fun. Finally, about an hour and a half later, we could see some bustle in the backstage areas. This time the announcement was the familiar one. The show was about to start.

This time we were in the 3rd row and the show was as amazing as it had been the night before. Dand Kwere right behind us, so we had a really good time. We'd like to think that they remembered us from the night before and that we amused them just as much. It certainly seemed that way. It was kind of hard to have a good time, though, because the people behind us just weren't into it. As C informed them, "This is what you do at rock concerts." During the intermission we got a better feel for these no-fun folks. The man asked us a couple questions and then commented that, "That bass player sure seems uptight!" 

We kept hoping that Glenn would lick the microphone again (we are easy to please), but he didn't. Don did strut over to our side during "Dirty Laundry" and stood right at the edge of the stage. Needless to say, we were thrilled.

During "Take it Easy" we held up a sign that read "Another Good Party. Thank You". Glenn gave us another priceless smile. The long wait that night was worth it.

New York City, June 21-22, 1996 (pre-show)

You may wonder why we went to New York City when the next show was Hartford. We had a couple of reasons. Melissa  wanted to find Kurt Loder and several of us had never been there and we had a hunch that the band was somewhere in town. The day of the Hartford show, we did a little shopping after having a fortifying breakfast of ice-cream. As we were walking back to the hotel, someone suggested that since we were near the Four Seasons, and that since that was a good place for the band to stay, we should just mosey on past. So we did.

There was nothing going on at the front entrance, so a couple of us went through the lobby to the other entrance. When they didn't come back, we(Lisa, Melissa and LT) decided that something must be up. We walked into the lobby and noticed several Eagles' personnel milling about. We almost freaked, but decided to keep our cool. The others were nowhere in sight.

We could see some vans lined up outside, so we decided that we would non-chalantly go down the steps, out the revolving door, and turn stealthily to our right and walk up the street. It didn't go quite as planned. As we started the steps, we heard a loud psssssst.... it was V. They were hiding under the stairs. A quick conference confirmed that the band was in the process of leaving for the airport (maybe we should have been on our way too). 

In fact, Don Felder was already outside. We all started out the doors and somewhere in the excitement, Melissa forgot exactly how revolving doors work and about 3 of us got stuck in the door, prompting the doorman to have to wheel us back into the hotel. Don Felder witnessed the entire incident and was very amused. Our plan to remain cool was foiled, but with heads held high, we walked past them to a spot about half a block away.

Shortly thereafter, Timothy S., Jean and their two kids came out and got into one of the vans. Tim was holding his little boy's hand. It was quite an endearing sight. Then, in a flurry of activity, a large group of people came out and got into the vans. We did manage to see, though, Henley trot out to his. He was wearing a plaid shirt (surprise), sunglasses and a backwards baseball cap. Obviously his hair hadn't been done for the show yet. As the vans sped away, someone suggested that we had better get our butts to Hartford as well.

Hartford, Connecticut- June 22, 1996

We had to do 80 on the Parkway to get there in time. Before we were even out of the city, we had a major accident with a bottle of Diet Pepsi. Let's just say that Vand Cwere a little sticky. We quickly checked into the hotel and touched base with some more friends. After quick showers it was time to leave for the show.

This one was a huge benefit for the Walden Woods Project and it was kind of obvious. Once inside The Meadows, we were deluged by WWP propaganda. What was really cool, though, was that there were T-shirts that were only for this show commemorating the benefit. Of course we all purchased one. We took our seats off to the side and then set off to find Hwho was also in attendance. We noticed Kathi Anderson, the director of the WWP, wandering around with a clipboard. We found out later that the governor of Connecticut was there to enjoy the show. After spending the last two shows freaking out in the 2nd and 3rd rows, it was nice to sit back and take in the whole production again.

Besides....it was COLD. We noticed that Henley's voice really seemed to be under a strain, but that he magically could manage to still hit the high notes. What was interesting was that right before "Boys of Summer" Henley and Frey had a mini-conference where Don asked Glenn for a little help on the end of the song. After it was over, Don thanked Glenn for his assistance. Who says these guys can't work together anymore? 

Meanwhile, other online friends were having their own adventures with some signs and a toy gopher, but we want them to tell their own story (hint, hint guys <G>). 

During the acoustic set, there was a technical snafu with Timothy's bass. Don handled the situation much better than he did on VH-1 Honors. He called the spotlight over to himself, said, "Something is wrong.", gave a VERY short (for DH) thank you on behalf of the WWP, and informed us all that, "...education is very important". Meanwhile, Timothy was back by his amp (?) fiddling around. Eventually, everything was back in order and the show continued. Even though it was chilly that night, we were kept warm by the excitement of yet another show.

Afterwards, we made it through traffic and back to the hotel (a feat the Eagles had a little difficulty doing) and spent some time comparing stories and looking at pictures. It was a little sad because it was LT's last night with us. In the morning, she would head back to Pennsylvania (after we conned V's somewhat frightened brother into taking a group photo) while the rest of us headed back to NY for the Nassau shows.

New York City, New York - June 23, 1996 (pre-show)

After having fantastic luck the first time, we decided to press it by going to the Four Seasons bar for a drink on the night before the first Nassau show. No signs of any Eagles, but while enjoying overpriced glasses of white wine, we saw Robert Duvall stick his head into the bar. He was in town for the premiere of Phenomenon (earlier that day, we had witnessedthe star-studded premiere for Striptease without knowing it).

The next day, we decided we weren't going to repeat the revolving door fiasco, so we walked around the hotel, got some hotdogs from a cart and sat to wait for them to leave for Long Island. The vans were already in place and there were a few professional autograph seekers standing around. From them we learned that Henley had been to the throat doctor, Al Garth had gone biking in Central Park, and that Joe and Glenn were at another hotel. While we were waiting, we noticed a small crowd gather around a guy standing in front of the hotel. We wondered why they were all taking pictures of him. Upon closer look, it turned out that it was Friend's Matthew Perry, looking very hunky in a white shirt and blue jeans. He and a friend got in a car and drove away.

Then it was show time again. The entourage appeared larger this time and there was a lot of meet and greeting on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. Irving was standing on the curb. We then saw Scott Crago, Timothy Drury, John Corey and Al Garth (saxophone in hand) come out and get into a van. Then that van left. Don Felder emerged from the hotel with his two daughters (someone had seen his wife, two sons and quite a bit of luggage go into another car earlier in the day). Timothy also hopped into a van, and then in a repeat of the last time, Henley trotted out to his van wearing the same outfit as the day before.

Returning to our hotel, we learned that the president was coming to town and figured we better beat it out of the city before they shut down the town. V was a traffic demon and several very nice New Yorkers almost lost limbs. We finally made it to the Nassau show, though.

Uniondale, New York, June 24, 1996  

While we were having adventures in the city, those staying at the Marriott next to the coliseum were having even more exciting ones interacting with with the road crew that was staying there.

The show was quite good, but it seemed to be lacking something the earlier ones had. Perhaps it was because there seemed to be a lot of industry people/friends of the band milling about. We did have excellent seats, though. About 2 songs into the first set, one of the catering staff came and sat down next to Lisa. Ever the WT reporter, she learned that he had gotten his ticket from the band because, "...we cooked for them." She then learned that backstage, the band had eaten lots of seafood, some veal, something with lemon grass, and lots of other "neat" dishes.

Lisa reciprocated by pointing out to the young chef which one on stage was Joe.

Almost as entertaining as the show were Glenn Frey's kids, Taylor and Deacon who really seemed to be enjoying themselves during the show. Deacon, drumsticks in hand, seems to have the makings of a fine percussionist while Taylor has inherited her mom's dancing ability. They danced and waved at their daddy...as did the considerably older Felder girls.

During "Take it Easy" we all assembled in the 3rd row for one last glimpse. The road trip was over for some of us...for others it would continue the next day. Melissa is positive that Glenn winked at her after sort of squinting at all the familiar "new" faces near the stage. What a way to end a trip! We think we're all still trying to recover.

The End

The next day, K   went back to the Four Seasons. Years of following Timothy paid off when Mr. Schmit himself walked right up to her and began speaking to her. They chatted for a few minutes, and he signed her program. We hear that she is still on cloud nine. From K , we also learned that some of the sleazier professional autograph guys caught Glenn on his way into his hotel after the show. Reportedly, Glenn yelled at them to, "...get real jobs".

Many people attended the Tuesday night show and we hear that it was much better than Monday's show . Joe used a bubble machine given to him by S.

Sitting here today, that all seems so far away. We had a great road trip with awesome friends. Let's hope that similar experiences await the next time the band tours!

Dedication and Disappointment...Don Henley in Chicago (6/17/2017)

It's kind of ironic. In our last blog post, we wrote about the time we went to Ames, Iowa for a Henley concert in 1991 only to find out it was cancelled for a reason we never learned. We went through a little bit of that this past weekend, but this time, we were very much in the loop.

Some of you who are friends with us on Facebook know that our trip to Chicago didn't start out very auspiciously. We meant to fly into Chicago on Thursday night. Our plans included some tourist stuff during the day on Friday, seeing Hamilton Friday night and then attending the Henley concert at the Huntington Pavilion at Northerly Island on Saturday night (Melissa's birthday). To make a long story short, our flight out of San Antonio was delayed. We were supposed to leave at 7:00 PM.  We decided to cancel our flight and book something else when we were notified that the flight had been bumped to 2:18 am...getting into Chicago at 5 am (They ultimately cancelled the flight and rebooked people on something the next day that would have meant us missing Hamilton). So, Thursday night, we went home and flew to Chicago from Austin on Friday morning.

We had been watching the weather. Storms were predicted for the Chicago area on Saturday night, but in the summer, these things are often hit and miss. Sometimes the storms don't materialize, or a line of storms blows through an area and then everything clears up. We knew that we were going to have to be flexible and be prepared for the worst...a cancelled concert.

Saturday was beautiful, but those storms still loomed on the radar maps. We got to the show and as JD and the Straight Shot played for the crowd, we could see the sky in the west grow darker and darker. A few raindrops plopped down, but it was nothing we couldn't live with. The tickets said "rain or shine" and we knew a Henley show in the rain might be an adventure.

The problem, though, is that while rain is an acceptable condition for a show, lightning and storms are not. They put the artist and the audience in danger. As they were setting up for Don's set after JD, instruments that had been uncovered were suddenly covered again. Then announcements were made in the venue and posted on their social media....

It was actually kind of scary when this first announcement was made. Melissa was at the t-shirt stand trying to buy rain ponchos. She didn't have her phone because it was dead. All of a sudden, there was something muffled on the loudspeaker and people were heading toward the gates. One woman was screaming, telling everyone to leave and that the show had been cancelled. That wasn't the case, though. This was a temporary evacuation.  Because of lightning in the area, they had to get people to shelter and they were right to do what they did. Our group (we were attending the show with long time Eagle-buddy, Julie) was lucky to find each other. The directions we had were to head to the "north garage". It was confusing where that was. From talking with people, we learned that it was somewhere under Soldier Field. 

That seemed like a long way away, plus as die-hard Packers fans, there was no way we were going to set foot in Soldier Field. We took cover under a grove of trees with about 200 other fans (the lightning wasn't in the area at the time and there was a restroom we could take shelter in if the rain turned into anything more deadly.) We had been told to watch social media, so we did....

This was good news. We could see on the radar that the storms were moving out over Lake Michigan. We were hopeful. The only thing that concerned us was if there would be a curfew. We did have an unexpected treat and ran into Florida fan, Ursula and her daughter. Everyone in that grove of trees remained hopeful that the show would go on.

Then we saw this...

Yeah!  Within about 10 minutes, they opened up the gates. They quickly wanded everyone and made sure people knew to return to their original seats. People were really good about that for the most part. It was an orderly process. Thanks to group member, Jennifer, who sent her husband over to wipe our seats off for us. We appreciated it!

Within minutes, Don and his band took the stage and launched right into 7 Bridges Road. Don was in great voice and you couldn't tell that we had all endured some pretty unique circumstances. After the song, Don told us that they could only play until 11:30, but they were going to do their best to play as many songs as possible in that time. 

And that is exactly what they did. We got 13 songs. It felt like what you might get at a corporate show or a shared bill show. No songs from Cass County...no duets with the girls...just the hits (Plus Everybody Wants to Rule the World).

So let's talk about the two words I used in the title of this post....Dedication and Disappointment.

Dedication. The fans who came back were most assuredly dedicated. We withstood rain and storms and delays and returned ready to rock. This smaller group was unlike crowds at other Henley shows. There really weren't any "sitting songs".  People were on their feet most of the night. We were wet and bedraggled and tired, but we had a good time. In the songs that mentioned rain (like New York Minute.. "You can get out of the rain") everyone cheered and Don laughed. While our show was shorter, we certainly all have a story to tell.

Don's band and crew were amazing. They changed instruments with precision to make sure there was no "wasted time" on stage. Julie remarked that there is more of a break between songs on her CDs than there was at that show. Everyone acted professionally and did their best to make sure that the show that happened was the best that could be had under the circumstances.

That brings us to Don. I think he really found himself between a rock and a hard place. He was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. There was almost no banter...no story telling or jokes between songs. Knowing what Don has said about some of the reasons the Eagles decided to go forward after Glenn's passing, it makes sense. Don knows that the crowd comes to hear their favorite songs. This was not the time or place for obscure album cuts or duets with his background singers. So he played all of his hits. Boys of Summer, Sunset Grill, Hotel California, Heart of the Matter...if it was a hit, Don played it. I've read some comments about how Don seemed like he didn't want to be there. We were in the 2nd row and it really seemed that he was working his butt off to get in the best show he could have. He frequently and quickly conferred with Will Hollis, the musical director. We assume it was to tweak the setlist to maximize the time he was able to perform.

That being said, let's talk a little about disappointment because we know there are a lot of unhappy fans. Some people fell victim to the sloppy miscommunication from the venue and some couldn't stay out in the rain. Some people feel cheated by the shortened set list and others think the show should have been rescheduled. Here's what we think. Remember...this is just our opinion.

First of all...for some people, Don Henley may be God, but he doesn't control the weather. There was nothing to be done about the storms. We had wondered if maybe things would have been better if they had cancelled JD and the Straight Shot and had Don take the stage at 7:30. Because of the timing of the storms, though, we still would have ended up with a 75 minute show. The evacuation order came in at about 8:45. I don't think they would have taken a break and come back for more. It just would have ended at that point.

Some people think the show could have been rescheduled, but that's more difficult than it sounds. Don's tour ended the next night in St. Paul. In order to reschedule, they would have had to find a time in the future to get the band together and get the equipment back to Chicago for just one show. That just isn't practical...especially with July being taken up with the Classic shows and Don's birthday party. 

It is also true that the venue could have handled things better. They told people to check "social media" but didn't tell people exactly what media to check. Their updates were clear and informative, but you had to be able to find them. Some people really were left with the impression that the concert was cancelled, so they left. I don't know if there is anything to be done about that.

It sucks. It does. Are we personally disappointed? Just a little. We had really wanted to hear Don do "Peaceful Easy Feeling" in honor of Glenn. We wish he had cut one of the slower songs (like New York Minute) so he could have gotten to that one. Right before Desperado, someone came out and showed Don something on a cell phone. We don't know if it was a weather update or an official notice that he HAD to be off the stage by 11:30 or what, but at that point, he held up one finger telling the band that Desperado would be it. Maybe they could have squeezed in Peaceful Easy Feeling (The show ended about 3 or 4 minutes before 11:30), but we're sure Don did what he thought was best or what he was required to do. We should note that about 2 minutes after Don left the stage, the heavens opened up and we got the heaviest rain of the night. We were soaked.

This will for sure be a show we will always remember. We're glad it wasn't cancelled. We're glad we got to meet so many other great fans. We're glad we got to hang out with Julie. We bet at some point, we'll hear Don sing Peaceful Easy Feeling again. We're sorry so many people are disappointed. We're proud of Don and his band for doing the best they could in difficult circumstances.

 It's like the song says, "It may be raining, but there's a rainbow above you".

Our First Road Trip

We're getting ready to head out on a concert road trip tomorrow. This one will be a short one. We're flying to Chicago to see Don Henley play on Melissa's birthday (we're also going to catch Hamilton for the 2nd time).  Calling the pet sitter and getting suitcases ready has brought back memories of our very first Don Henley road trip.

Our road trip...Red to blue to purple to yellow.

Our road trip...Red to blue to purple to yellow.

It was 1991. Don was doing another leg of the End of the Innocence promotional tour and he was playing multiple dates in the midwest. This worked out well for us. We were college students, it was summer vacation and one of us had a credit card. We didn't have a lot of money, though, that's for sure (especially after buying concert tickets...even $20.00-$38.00 seemed like a lot back then). We thriftily packed a couple loaves of bread and some peanut butter to save costs. We had reservations at Motel 6s. We were ready to hit the road and see Don.

The first show was July 31st in Kansas City (Bonner Springs, actually). We set off from Eau Claire, Wisconsin in a Ford Mustang (not a cool Mustang, though...it was a hatchback).  I remember it was hot. We had maps to guide us. We had a box full of cassettes to keep us company. It seemed to take forever, but we eventually got there. We spent a couple of hours in line because we had general admission tickets. Don's cover story in GQ had just come out and a lot of us fans spent time in line discussing the explosive revelations in that story.

Don was appearing at Sandstone Amphitheater with Bonnie Raitt and Chris Isaak (Bonnie referred to herself as the "meat in the middle").  We sat on the lawn and were enthralled by Don. We don't remember much about the show, except that Don wore this big, poofy white shirt (think Seinfeld). and blue jeans. The Internet tells me that the set list featured songs like Gimme What You Got, Driving with Your Eyes Closed, Victim of Love and a cover of Joni Mitchell's River. We were also excited that there was a tour program with beautiful pictures available. While it is difficult to remember specific details, we do remember that it was a magical night. 

After spending the night in a disgusting motel, we headed off the next day for Ames, Iowa. Don was going to be appearing at the University there. We had a day off in between and went to the zoo in Omaha. We also got lost trying to find some sort of Jesse James landmark.  The next day, we got to Ames with plenty of time to spare. I remember we splurged and got some food and then made our way to the venue. As we approached, we were a bit perplexed. There were no cars in the parking lot and no trucks and buses to indicate a major rock and roll concert would be happening in a few hours. Did we have the date wrong? We double checked the tickets. Nope. We parked at the arena and noticed there were signs taped to the door.s Our worst fears were realized when we read what they said...that the concert was cancelled and would not be rescheduled. Remember, there was no internet and being from out of town, he hadn't heard any announcements that were probably made on the radio. To this day, we don't know exactly why the show was cancelled. We don't even have the tickets because we had to mail them back to get a refund.

We were heartbroken, but we had 2 more Henley concerts on the horizon. We drove from Ames to Lisa's parents' house outside of Madison, Wisconsin. Don was set to do 2 dates at the fabled Alpine Valley with Sting. We weren't that excited about Sting, but Melissa had won one set of lawn seats on the radio. For the second of these we were in the 5th row, but kind of on the side. In fact, when we were in these seats, there was a big black curtain blocking our view. Our entire section started a chant, complaining we couldn't see and they eventually moved the curtain. Small victories!  Again, the details of the shows are a bit fuzzy. One night Don opened for Sting and the other night Sting opened for Don. They also had 2 other openers...Susannah Hoffs (with her stunning cover of Feel Like Making Love......not easy to forget, that's for sure!) and Vinx. Don did a shortened set and he and Sting never sang together. I even think we left early the night Sting went on 2nd. 

After the 2nd show, we headed back to Eau Claire, ready to begin our last year of college. We had no idea what amazing road trips were in our future.

What's your favorite Eagles related road trip?

That One Time Glenn Frey Scared The Bejeezus out of Us....

It was a solo show at a casino in Tunica, Mississippi.

We were up front. Glenn solo shows were few and far between, but we were excited that we had the opportunity to see Glenn in all of his glory. 

Midway through the show, he began introducing "Lyin' Eyes".  I can still close my eyes and see these events unfold exactly has they happened.

Glenn pointed two fingers at us.  "These two....these two...."  

My heart jumped. What had we done wrong? Why was Glenn pointing at us? Why was he talking about us in front of everyone?  I can still see those two fingers pointing down at us.

"These two have seen probably 700 Eagles shows." (he was exaggerating of course) "...and they know all of my jokes."  Then he looked down and spoke directly to us. "Pretend this is the first time...."   

He winked and told the Plaintiff joke and began singing. 

A few hours later, my heart returned to its usual rhythm.

Tribute Shows

My mom saw an Eagles tribute show this week. It was a benefit for the local Police Benevolent League (every year, they get a different tribute act to play...last year it was a Beatles act) and her friend Judi bought the tickets.

Here's some of what I gleaned about her experience.

  • The local middle school where this took place was packed. They got there 45 minutes before show time and could only find seats way up in the balcony.
  • The band was very good. There were 6 of them and they didn't try to dress up like the Eagles like some bands do.
  • She knew some of the songs. She kept waiting for them to do "Hotel California" and they finally did.
  • The guy in front of her was like many people in the crowd. He went wild and sang and danced to every number.
  • She had a really good time.

The particular band she was as a Midwest outfit called Heartache Tonight (they have a highlight reel on their website if you are interested).  I know there are dozens of these groups from around the world. There's Hotel California and the Illegal Eagles and Talon other groups featuring names that are derived from song titles (kind of like this blog :) )

I'm not sure, though, how I feel about tribute bands. I think it is great that the Eagles music inspires others. I think that if a group of musicians can bring happiness to a middle school auditorium full of people on a Tuesday night, that's a good thing. Like Don has said in several recent interviews, "...people want to hear these songs."  These tribute acts make that possible.  

I'm not sure, though, I would enjoy seeing a tribute act. I might find myself making comparisons the whole night. One of the main reasons I go to Eagles shows is to see Don and Glenn and Timothy and Joe. I like watching their interplay. I like the way they work together on stage. I like the way they sound. Seeing a tribute act, to me, has limited appeal, but I certainly don't begrudge those who have a great time. It just seems odd to me. I wouldn't pay to see a local group of amateurs act out scenes from Grey's Anatomy or watch a local sports club do a replay of the Packers' Superbowl win. I wonder what the guys in the band would think. Would they be flattered? Would they think these guys should go out and write and play their own music? I don't know. Hey! Maybe that's a question for Don at the Runaway weekend! 

Anyway, maybe I'm being too critical. Maybe I'd have a good time. I'm really glad my mom did. 

What is your opinion on tribute shows? Have you gone to any? What did you think?

The story of a story....

We've been covering Eagles news for a long time. We used to have to hunt really hard for the news...searching the Random Notes section of Rolling Stone for mentions or waiting for the next copy of ICE (International CD Exchange) to find out if anyone had new music coming out. We'd make a point to watch Kurt Loder on MTV tell us about the Week in Rock and hope there would be something we could report. 

We got information from community members too. It might come in the form of a post on Prodigy from someone in Boston who saw Don was in town for a Walden Woods Project meeting or a person might pop into IRC chat who had seen Joe at a baseball training event down in Florida. We took notes and we wrote it up. 

These days, though, Facebook and Google alerts make news instantaneous and things can feel overwhelming for Eagles fans.  Twitter keeps us up to date...sometimes minute by minute through a concert or appearance. We see photos the night of a concert...not days or weeks later. We don't just hear that Timothy was on the radio in Omaha...we can listen live or download the podcast later. It's amazing what technology can do, it really is.  One thing we've learned, though, is that in order to navigate this onslaught of news, you have to be a careful reader and consumer of information. 

Let's take the recent story about Don revealing how Deacon Frey would be appearing at the Classic East / Classic West shows this summer. 

We saw a notice on Twitter that Don would be appearing on a Dallas sports radio show. We were at work and super busy so we didn't get a chance to post about it ahead of time. Lisa made a point, though, to turn on the radio while she was grading papers after school and caught the interview. As soon as Don made the announcement, knowing this was huge news, Lisa typed it up and put it on the Fastlane Facebook page. Now we aren't claiming we got the scoop. Obviously, the guys at The Ticket did.....but immediately after that our post was shared and re-shared in groups and on pages all over Facebook (The initial post has been seen by over 31,000 people!) That's awesome. That's the point of Facebook.....to share information. What happens, though, is that other bloggers and news outlets see these shares and re-shares. They found the original interview and wrote articles about it, quoting extensively from what Don had to say rather than just directing people to go listen to the interview for themselves (we initially wrote a recap before we knew the station would be posting it).  There are now dozens of these articles that are all the same because they were working with the same source material. What's interesting (and amusing), is that some of them don't seem to have listened very carefully. Some of them get the point and some don't. Check out these headlines (and this is just one screen grab)

Check out the variety of headlines. Don reveals Glenn's replacement? Nobody can replace Glenn. In fact, Don even says that. There is an Eagles tour? We are talking 2 dates. That isn't a tour! Notice that the reputable publication, Billboard, gets it the most correct (though they have bungled headlines in the past). All of these stories are swirling around Facebook getting posted and reposted in the various Eagles groups. What is missing, though, is the context. All of these stories are built on one interview. One interview. None of them have anything new to offer. There is no additional reporting, no further comment. I don't know what can be done about this. Fans get excited seeing a "new" interview and we get that. It is exciting. It just gets overwhelming. 

For us that's why things are a little frustrating and things feel so cluttered.  When there are so many groups and so many stories, it seems that this is the only thing popping up on timelines. We have one interview and hundreds of stories all saying the same thing...unless they are getting it wrong. Here's what we mean:

One radio station actually quoted from our recap of the interview. They didn't read carefully, though. They reported that when Glenn was ill, his daughter Taylor got married. Our story didn't mention Taylor. We said that Don's eldest daughter got married. They read our recap, misinterpreted what was said, did research to find out that Glenn's daughter's name was Taylor and went with the sensational "scoop". When we wrote to the station to point out this pretty significant error, we got back a rude message in ALL CAPS telling us they had taken care of it. Wow. 

So that's the state of Eagles news these days. When something breaks, it breaks hard and it is everywhere. As fans and thoughtful consumers of information, we might just have to take a breath and Take it Easy :)

Things have changed. How did you find Eagles news in the past? 

Welcome to this thing, whatever it is.....

This is a blog.

It's a blog about the Eagles.

Right now, we don't have a name for it. Maybe you can help come up with one in the comments below. Right now it is a work in progress.

We've been talking about how we'd like to do some longer pieces about the Eagles. We miss writing stories like we used to do for our old newsletter and the transient nature of Facebook doesn't really lend itself to that. 

So that's what this blog is for. It's about the Eagles, but it's our thoughts. You will agree with some of them. You will disagree with some of them. That's cool. We hope you'll chime in and tell us when you like something and if you beg to differ, we'd love to hear your respectful responses.

L&M