July 24, 2017
Anita G Shepherd
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
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.