We thought the blog here would be a place to also feature older pieces of writing. This is something Lisa wrote up after we attended this event 20 years ago! Wow!
Last fall, Don spent a lot of time doing fundraisers for various political friends and charities. We were glad he was out there doing stuff (news for the WT at least), but we were always bif miffed that the things were either too far away or too expensive for us to go. So imagine our delight (and slight reserve) to hear that Don was going to do yet ANOTHER benefit in Phoenix in early March. lt didn't matter what it was for....it was a chance to see Don!! And to our further surprise the concert was scheduled for the Sunday before our Spring Break. We could go and not miss any school!!
Getting the tickets required some maneuvering on our part.....borrowing credit cards from parents, getting out of class to use the phone (who puts tickets on sale on a Monday??), and asking a very understanding librarian if her phone was available. Fifteen minutes later we had tickets to both shows. From the sound of it, we had good seats. Yeah!! It was about time for us.
The next two weeks were unbearable. School was filled with endless, meaningless meetings and kids with minds already on vacation. Do they ever suspect their teachers are the same way? The tickets came in the mail and there wasn't the usual "no cameras or recording equipment" notice on the back. What?? Don was going to allow photos. Well, knowing him, probably not. But we weren't going to let this opportunity by. We had third row seats. We'd need a good camera. A trip to Best Buy the day before we left took care of that. We felt we were set.(ed note. Sadly, our photos did not turn out. We'd like to thank John Kinney's Nix Fix home page (http://web2. airmaiL jkinney/index.htm) and Debbi Radford for the photos you see here)
We arrived in Phoenix late the day before the show after spending almost the entire day waiting at the airport in Houston for our flight. Gee, maybe it would have been quicker to drive. We knew Don was doing a private WWP benefit somewhere, but it was too late and we were without transportation to check out the few leads we had. Don would have to wait until tomorrow.
Sunday, the day of the concert, dawned sunny and unseasonably hot. We filled ourselves on the free continental breakfast (Sara Lee danish never tasted better) and called for the taxi.
"Please take us to Union Hall," Melissa told the driver. *l think it's at Van Buren and 7th." The driver looked puzzled.
"lsn't it also by the Arizona Center?" (a big mall, according to AAA) I added, helpfully. The driver recognized that and we took off. Now we had been to Phoenix once before to see Don at the Desert Sky Blockbuster Pavilion back in 93, but none of the city seemed familiar. Guess my mind had been on other things then too.
We drove past the construction site for a new stadium. My thought was, hmmm....the Eagles can play there....The driver was slowing down. I looked around. All I saw were office buildings. Where the heck was the concert?
"lt should be around here somewhere," the driver said. My stomach lurched. We were going to be lost in Phoenix and miss Don!! Melissa dug the tickets out of the bag. She handed one to the driver. He studied for a minute. A light bulb obviously came on. "Oh, you mean Union Hall.....that's right around the corner. I didn't know it was open already." There must be lots of Union Halls in Phoenix.
We got out of the taxi and walked around the corner. There it was. lt looked like an old high-school, except with a southwestern paint job. What looked to be college students were scurrying around outside setting up animal photos and fundraising tents. lt was still early so we walked around a bit. It being Sunday, nothing was open so we had nothing better to do.
We sort of got lost in the parking lot of the county courthouse, which backed Union Hall. Just as we had figured out that the local mall was probably open by now and had begun heading over there, we noticed a van pulling up behind the hall. Hmmmm. My stomach lurched again. Before I could breathe, the van doors came open and Don, Timothy and Bruce Hornsby got out. Don's right hand man, Tony, grabbed bags for Henley. Bruce handled his own duffel.
That excitement over, we went over to the gate to meet Shana (Lorax) and her husband, Ted. We chatted with representatives for the Southwestern Center for Biodiversity. We found out that this fine organization preserves areas of environmental importance and saves disappearing wildlife. Their literature touts them as, "By far the most aggressive group fighting for endangered fish." Impressive! They engage in quite a few lawsuits on behalf of critters and plants. ln fact, Don mentioned that, "....they sue people. I like that."
After meeting Shana and Ted, we went inside and were impressed by how small the place was. We were quite excited. Especially after finding our seats in the third row (for the evening show, we were back about 20 rows). After a bit of waiting, the lights dimmed and the show began. Roger McGuinn and Bruce Hornsby came out first and sang "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turm Turn Turn." Bruce looked like a little kid with his hands stuffed in his pockets and Roger looked like, well, Roger McGuinn. Roger then sang "So You Want To Be a Rock and Roll Staf' by himself. Bruce was next. He sang "The Way it ls", "Mandolin Rain" and "Walk On" with amazing backing vocals by Mindy Stein, one of Henley's band (or Henleyaires as Hornsby referred to them). Bruce shared a cute story about the last time he was in Phoenix which seems to have involved strippers and Bob Weir. Bruce was great...he gives a good show. Of course, everyone knew what was coming next, Bruce introduced Henley and they kicked into their song, "The End of the lnnocence".
Don and his band (Frank Simes (with a new Adam Clayton hairdo), Jennifer Condos, John Corey, Timothy Drury, Scott Plunkett, Scott Crago (still sporting the goatee), Mindy and two backup singers we didn't recognize) then kicked off their set. They performed "Boys of Summer," "Dirty Laundry" (dedicated the the media, of course), "Sunset Grill" (which was preceded with a rant about how evil big business is in which Don decried the eeevils of theme restaurants claiming to be joints and modern architecture. Don also said how much he enjoyed performing in venues like Union Hall....something to keep in mind for the next solo tour, Don ) and "Last Worthless Evening" (which was rather flat and the low point of the show) Then Don introduced Timothy Schmit as a friend for a long time who was gracious enough to leave his family and help out. Predictably, Tim sang "l Can't Tell You Why" and "Love Will Keep Us Alive." Then Don was back. He sang "l Will Not Go Quietly", "Everybody Knows" (both of which were AMAZING) and maybe something else we're probably forgetting.
Don then introduced local girl, Stevie Nicks" He said she was a very good friend and that they had survived the 70s and 80s together. They hugged when she came out. Stevie sang "Dreams" (Timothy helped out her backup singers on this one. He looked a bit uncomfortable singing with the girls) and "Landslide" (which she dedicated to her mom who was there). This song left the entire theater breathless. She then called Don out. Only Don was no where to be found. Stevie tapped her foot in mock impatience and told everyone she's always waiting for Henley. Don was finally found and joined her for an absolutely stunning version of "Leather and Lace." The auditorium was absolutely ' silent during the song. At the evening show, Stevie draped her scarf over Henley's head and Don chewed on it. Even more priceless was the twirling Stevie impression Don did at the evening show. Don left and Stevie finished her set with "Rhiannon". She was just incredible. She looked stunning too.
Don was then back to finish the show. He sang "Heart of the Matter" (telling us, again, how it took him 42 years to write and that men grow up so fast), "All She Wants to Do is Dance", "Hotel California", "Life in the Fast Lane" and ending with, of course, "Desperado." Timothy came back out to help on the Eagles' songs. Then everyone came back out on stage to sing Dylan's "My Back Pages." Don said it was a sort of anthem for everyone there.
General thoughts.....Don looked really good. He wore (for.those of you who care <G>) black jeans, black t-shirt with a dark green shirt over and his work boots. Timmy had on black pants and a light gray velvet shirt which he changed for a darker one for the second show. Don's voice sounded great...hardly any rasp, even during the second show. Don was also in a great mood. He was hugging everyone and making jokes. lt was nice to see that side of him for a change. We also managed between shows to be at the right place at the right time and got Don's autograph on a t-shirt. We needed it like we need hole in our heads, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time. <G> Don's assistant Tony had a little trouble understanding "to L&M" (he first came out with a shirt made out to 'Ella and M' but we eventually got it figured out.
We were disappointed not to have heard "Through Your Hands". We had been looking forward to it since Genii mentioned it was part of the set in San Francisco. I was so upset at not hearing it, I sort of called Don a stupid man, in a loud voice. l've heard "Heart of the Matter' before. lt was kind of odd seeing some of these songs done solo. Since it has been a while since I saw Henley solo, I was more used to the Eagles' versions of things. I kind of missed seeing Glenn up there on stage. I was great, though, to be in a setting where the audience could yell up to Don, and he could yell back if he wanted to...which he did occaisionally.
At any rate, this ranks as THE BEST Henley performance l've seen. I was lucky to FINALLY be in the right place at the right time.