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.
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?