The Holiday Season is Upon Us AGAIN ALREADY....

This semester is finished. Grades are turned in. The kids are gone and I have just one conference period left with nothing to do until that final bell rings. So...I thought I'd write about some of my favorite Eagles and solo member holiday songs. 


El Santa is on the B-Side Of This. You can see how Henley feels about it by how he signed our copy.

El Santa is on the B-Side Of This. You can see how Henley feels about it by how he signed our copy.

Before getting to the obvious one let's take a moment to go all the way back to 1965 and Don Henley's pre-Eagles band, The Four Speeds.  "El Santa" is the B-Side to their single "Variety" (which is my favorite pre-Eagles song, even though Don said that it sucked).  It's interesting to imagine a group of high-school boys from East Texas sitting around and deciding to mesh "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" with something that sounds a lot like "Tequila".  They did, though, and the result is a rocking instrumental that puts a fresh spin on the holiday classic. You can imagine rocking out to this on a beach under some palm trees instead of pine trees.

Don's drumming sounds a little like sleigh-bells and you can't NOT have fun to this one.

"...children, gather round
And listen to my story
About the big, fat jolly man who's
Pulled around by reindeer"

RIVER - Don Henley

Neil Young's Bridge School Benefits were always a treat. When Don performed at them, he usually appeared with friends (JD Souther, Timothy B. Schmit, Jai Winding) and he always did a couple of amazing covers or interpretations of his own songs. We have the Bridge School Benefits to thank for Henley covers of the Beatles "Yes It Is" and the soul classic "You Don't Miss Your Water (Until the Well Runs Dry).  It's also where Don first did an acoustic version of "Boys of Summer" that he said was like standing on stage in a jock strap and a pair of socks.

The Bridge School Benefits also gave us one of my all-time favorite Henley vocals. Don did a cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" and it is everything you would want a Henley performance to be...haunting, emotive, plaintive and raspy. It's also a wee bit sexy. If you've never heard it, go right now to this article on PASTE and click the play button.  You are welcome.

Here's a confession about this song. For the longest time, we had a bootleg version of this song. In the introduction, Don says "Well, the holiday season is upon us again already. I don't know about you, but I would always like to be frozen until January 2nd."  On our copy of the bootleg, there's a little glitch right before the word "frozen".  All you could hear was an "F" sound and a crackle. We always assumed Don said, "...fucked up until January 2nd". That's the way I still hear it and in a way, it makes a tiny more bit of sense than "frozen", right?

Please Come Home for Christmas / Funky New Year (Eagles)

This is probably the best known of the group's holiday songs. Just today, an article came out in which Don lectured us about the song and how the Eagles came to record this Charles Brown classic. "When the Eagles were recording ‘The Long Run’ album in Miami, we needed a break from the daily routine. So, I suggested that we record a Christmas song, and I went on to suggest this song that I had remembered from my teenage years. The band members, and our producer, welcomed the idea. I think we recorded the whole thing is just a day or two", he told

Just recently, we got to see Don sing this with Clint Black and Lyle Lovett at the Hurricane Harvey benefit in Fort Worth. It was a really fun performance.

I think, though, that my favorite performance of this (along with Funky New Year) was at the Millennium Shows in 1999.  Here's a little bit of background for those of you who may not have been online then. 

There was a lot of hype about these shows. The band did big interviews in the Los Angeles and Las Vegas Papers. The entire band appeared on Showbiz Today to receive an award from the RIAA and plug the shows. There was a lot of mystery about what the band would perform. Remember, the band had finished the Hell Freezes Over Tour and had done just a few shows since (notably the Tiger Woods benefit, Tiger Jam). Nobody knew what to expect and the band kept teasing that there would be surprises.

Add to that the fact that Joe Walsh had discovered webcams. Now, these were 1999 web cams. This wasn't streaming. Every minute or so, the camera would take a grainy, postage-sized picture and update itself on a website. We didn't care about the quality, though, because Joe had set one of these up in the large rehearsal space where the Eagles were preparing for the New Year's shows. When that camera was live, we sat around and waited for the refresh. We saw the Eagles in all of their grainy glory. "Look, there's Glenn in a baseball cap!"  "What are those sweatpants Don is wearing?" "I love when Tim's hair is in a ponytail".  Stuff like that. Occasionally, Joe would stick his face in front of camera and make a silly face.  We saw them practicing. We saw them standing around and discussing things. We saw them drink coffee. 

And then one day...we saw the drum. You've probably seen the drum now. That big bass drum that Don would bang on "Funky New Year." We had no idea what it was for. Our entire online conversations turned toward "...the drum." and what its purpose could be. Were they going to go all Fleetwood Mac "Tusk" on us? Our best guess was that Don was going to use it to bang down the clock until midnight.

Well, we soon found out. Hearing Please Come Home and Funky New Year at all 3 millennium shows as a treat that can't be replicated. Never having heard those songs live and then to see them in all of their glory...with fireworks? Amazing. CNN broadcast this live and we were a part of it. Something I won't soon forget.

Well, the bell just rang and it's time to head home. 

Merry Christmas everyone!

What are your favorite Eagles holiday songs / covers/ performances / memories?


Who We Are and What We Do....

The Fastlane is an Eagles website located at 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 (  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: --
Glenn Frey Appreciation Group--
Don Henley Appreciation Group--
Joe Walsh Appreciation Group --
Timothy B. Schmit Appreciation Group --

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 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 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".

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 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?