During the course of covering the Eagles in both newsletter form and on various online platforms over the last 20+ years, we have been lucky to have met almost all of the members of the band. Each time we have an interaction, it forms a memory...a mental snapshot.
There’s Don, whispering conspiratorially about why he won’t be doing any political songs that evening because. “...we’re in Arizona...”
Timothy, full of pre-show energy, being incredibly gracious on his way to pick up his pants from the wardrobe lady.
Joe, leaning in to give Lisa a hug and obviously mishearing what she said, saying, “...thanks for coming, Nancy.”
I can picture Randy, beaming with pride just after rehearsals for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
We never got to meet Glenn.
It’s funny, though, because we have a similar set of those mental snapshots. In a way, we feel almost as if we had spent time with him. Here are a few of those memories.
It’s 1995. We had been going to concert after concert. When the tour extended into the school year, we used sick days and took long weekends to see the Hell Freezes Over Tour. We were new teachers, figuring out how to engage students and how to teach real world skills. When some students noticed that we weren’t gone as much, depriving them of coveted time with substitute teachers, they asked questions. We told them that one of the Eagles was sick and that they weren’t doing any concerts. The kids expressed concern, so one of us decided it was time to teach letter writing skills. Our students created get well cards for Glenn. They wrote, they cut, they pasted, they used glitter. They encouraged him to get well so their teachers would be able to see more shows. They knew that both of us also liked Don the best and they used that detail to elaborate their messages in their cards.
That’s why, a few months later, when a handwritten card arrived from Glenn with a thank-you for the get well cards, there was a message written in his distinctive penmanship that said. “You’ve gotta get over this Don Henley thing.”
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. Time seemed to stand still. 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 been to around 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 you’ve heard it...." He winked and told the Plaintiff joke and began singing.
A few hours later, my heart returned to its usual rhythm.
It was hot in Little Rock. Really hot. We had been on the road following the Farewell 1 tour around the middle-south part of the country. Lubbock, Oklahoma City, Birmingham, Little Rock. We were having really good luck with tickets. We didn’t buy any until the day of the show and ended up in the first 3 rows most nights (that was when they released good seats day of show). There were 3 of us and in Little Rock we had a little bit of bad luck. We had 2 seats in the front row, between Joe and Steuart and 2 seats in the middle section of the arena floor in about row 6. We couldn’t all sit together.
Lisa and our friend took the front row seats and Melissa hung out back in row 6. It didn’t matter, though. That show was a party. Despite the heat the band was alive and the crowd was wild and maybe more than a little drunk.. There was dancing all night. Melissa remembers making tons of eye-contact with Glenn during Life in the Fastlane and singing along with him for the entire song. It was amazing
During t.he 1st encore, Lisa decided to head back to row six to hang out with Melissa, leaving our friend alone in the front row. There was more dancing, more singing along. Did I mention that it was wild? The band left the stage once more. When they came back out, Glenn made a beeline for our friend in the front row. He bent down and gave her an important piece of information. “They’re over there…” and he pointed over in our direction. Apparently, Glenn thought we had ditched our friend and he wanted to help her out.
That’s just the kind of guy he was.
Just by pure chance and geography, Melissa and I were at the last Eagles concert on July 29th in Bossier City, Louisiana. Of course we didn't know then it was the last one. Yeah, it was the last one of the tour, but we'd all heard that before right? Lafayette in 1995 was going to the end. Every time a Farewell tour ended it was "the last". So when Bossier City was billed as the "last Eagles show ever" we took it with a fairly large grain of salt. Been there, done that. We knew from experience that there'd be a lull for a few months and then they'd be back out on the road again.
But the Eagles won't be back out on the road again.
I've been thinking about that last show the past couple of days, trying to think if there was anything remarkable it. There really wasn't. It was just another show. There was the opening fist bump, the same old jokes, the same band introductions, the same familiar songs. It was like the dozens of previous Eagles shows I'd been too.....familiar and predictable, but in the best possible of ways.
But something different did happen at the end. We were never sure about Glenn. He seemed to sense that we were more Don fans and tended to ignore us most of the time. That last night, though, he smiled at us a few times during the show. He seemed genuinely pleased we were there. And at the end as he walked off the stage he tossed his guitar pick at me and said, "Here for you." and smiled.
I didn't get to say it that night so I'll say it now......Thank you, Glenn.