No Smell Of Colitas Rising Up Through The Air
I don't like crowds, I don't like stupid obnoxious people, I don't like music that is so deafeningly loud that my ears ring for days afterwards. I don't like paying ridiculous amounts of money to sit so far away that the band members look like lego people.
Despite that, I've been to a surprising number of them. And I've seen some of the biggest and best names in music:
The Police, Duran Duran, Def Leppard (and even though I have never really been a fan of heavy metal, the "In The Round" tour was nothing short of amazing) Prince, INXS, The Cure, Billy Joel and Elton John (who, until now had earned the distinction of "best concert I've ever seen")....and though I'm a little chagrined to admit it, in the interest of full disclosure and perspective, I will cop to having seen Billy Ray Cyrus, Alan Jackson, and Garth Brooks as well.
The Eagles blew them all right out of the water.
It was, hands down, the most amazing concert I have ever seen in my life.
Unfortunately, our evening got off to a rocky start.
On the hour drive to the venue, the boys bickered incessantly. Husband was trying to patient and upbeat, but I could see him slowly deflating like a leaky party balloon. This was his dream come true, and our offspring were ruining it for him.
When we arrived, the weather, which had been warm and mild all day long, had turned cold and windy. None of us was dressed appropriately, and though we had jackets, it wasn't enough. The thought of spending the next four hours freezing to death was making us all cranky, and the boys began to complain.
Pubescent One, who had worn shorts to school, was especially whiney. He had been told by both husband and I to put on pants. He declined, choosing style over warmth.
We had planned to park and then walk across the street to the Varsity to have dinner. That turned out to be not such a workable idea. By the time we made it inside the venue, everyone was starving, which only added to our already somewhat sour mood. We were forced to pay exorbitant prices for barely edible food.
Poor Husband deflated even further.
I wonder if he was thinking about the days when going to concerts meant hours of raucous carefree tailgating, lots of adult beverages, and no whining children.
I know I was.
After we ate our condiment laden cardboard, we took our seats and there we sat huddled, trying to ignore the cold, slowly sipping our $4 bottled water, and trying, for Husband's sake, to pretend we were having the time of our lives.
Looking around, it was kind of a shock to realize that I was among the younger people in the crowd. I'd estimate the average age of the attendees to be around 50. But there were plenty of folks in their 60's and 70's. There was a very mellow vibe and the crowd was probably the tamest I've ever encountered at a concert.
Not that people weren't excited. They definitely were. The amphitheatre was buzzing with an undercurrent of anticipation. But the mood was more one of quiet appreciation rather than drunken revelry. It was really nice.
This was Diminutive One's first concert. He loves music and he loves the Eagles, but I was a little afraid he would be bored and fidgety. He is hyperactive and it's hard for him to focus for long periods of time. His medication had long since worn off, so I wasn't really sure how it would go down with him.
Right on time, with literally no fanfare whatsoever, the band quietly took the stage and began to play "How Long".
Suddenly, all our crankiness evaporated as the music stole over us with sweet, melodic warmth. I actually felt a thrill ripple up and down my spine as I watched the four of them in their black suits standing side by side on the stage, their grizzled heads bowed over their instruments.
I was looking at four men who were living legends. And they proceeded to demonstrate exactly why, when they sang the first few verses of "No More Walks In The Wood" a capella. It was breathtaking.
Now, you have to remember that these guys have been around since 1971. They are all at least 60 years old. Though I hate to resort to a cliche, the simple truth is, The Eagles have only gotten better with age.
Joe Walsh? That man can still JAM. I'd like to see his younger counterparts try to keep up with him. Timothy B. Schmit still has that trademark mane and still sings like a lark. Glenn Frye danced around the stage like a man half his age. And Don Henley still epitomizes cool.
I needn't have worried about Diminutive One. He was absolutely enthralled. The orchestra and the jazz musicians fascinated him. He was incredibly impressed not only with the quality of the music, but the artistry behind it. He watched the big screen in rapt fascination, exclaiming over the fact that you could scarcely see Joe Walsh's fingers moving up and down the fret board, so nimbly did he strum.
My boys sang with gusto, and three different people seated near us commented on the fact that they knew all the words. One man congratulated Husband on raising his boys to appreciate good music.
The concert was a perfect mix of old and new. They started out with some of their more upbeat numbers; classics that everybody could sing along to. Then they switched gears and played some of the slower, more introspective stuff from "Long Road Out of Eden". They finished with a long set of all their rollicking greatest hits. The only thing that disappointed me was that they did not play "Seven Bridges Road" which is my favorite Eagles song.
They played for nearly four hours, and did three encores. Normally, after four hours of blaring music and screaming fans, I would have been counting the minutes. But honestly, four hours went by in the blink of an eye.
I have to say, there are worse ways to spend four hours than to watch middle aged white men in golf shirts get their groove on. Let me tell you, if this crowd was a smidge more reserved, they made up for it by being completely and unabashedly unconcerned about what their fellow Eagles fans thought of their dancing, their attire, or their singing.
When the lights went up, Pubescent One declared that it was the best concert he ever saw. To be fair, he's only seen two, but I daresy it's a sentiment that was shared by most everybody present that evening. Diminutive One could not stop talking about it.
Besides being a whole lotta fun, the evening also turned out to be educational. As we were being herded like cattle in a line for the shuttle busses, we encountered a young man who looked to be only 15 or 16 being dragged along by two people I can only assume were his parents. He was very, very, very drunk, and it didn't take a genius to see that he was on the verge of some major spewage.
Pubescent One asked me what was wrong with that kid, though I suspect he already knew. I told him that the kid was exceedingly intoxicated and warned him to stand back. No sooner had he asked "Why??" than the kid began to vomit copiously. As he leaned over the barricade, ejecting his spleen onto the pavement, his pants somehow worked their way down far enough that his backside was exposed to the crowd.
Pubescent One was horrified, shocked, and disgusted.
"Why would anybody do that to themselves?" he asked.
This led to a very meaningful discussion about how alchohol impairs one's judgement to the point that one does not realize how much one has drunk until it is too late.
At one point, a polic officer happened upon them. I wonder if those people were charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Anyway...by the time we reached the van it was well past 1 am. We stopped for pancakes at 2 am because everyone was starving. One encounters some very erm...interesting people at 2 am. My boys looked around, clearly fascinated by this new and different sphere of humanity.
The next day the boys talked to anyone who would listen about the concert, as did Husband.
I probably would never have bought a ticket to see the Eagles on my own. Oh, I like them well enough, but they've never been a must see for me. So I have to thank my Husband for an experience I might have missed otherwise.
I can now say that I have witnessed musical history. Cool.