When I was young my parents took me to Blackpool. A lot. We didn’t get on very well. I wish I could have done something about that but its too late now. Typical holiday involved going to Lewis’ Department store and buying an album on cassette (remember them!) to absorb by osmosis during the week, hanging about in a pool hall that played a lot of David Bowie on the juke box and avoiding my parents. I was way too young to hang around in pool halls but that was then…..
One day I was wandering around the shops near Blackpool’s south shore (heading for the pleasure beach) and I came across a shop selling music posters. I bought a poster of the Eagles that was a year or two out-of-date. When I went home to rural Yorkshire, I hung it on my bedroom wall.
A few years later I moved to Shafton (I doubt you’d find it on the map!), then to Barnsley, then to South Norwood (London), then to Croydon, then to Greenford (Middlesex) and then to Hammersmith. Wherever I went and whoever with, the first task was to take that damn Eagles poster and hang it on to the wall. The blue-tack gave up years ago, the edges frayed, eventually it had to go into a frame to preserve it but its hung on every bedroom wall I’ve ever had and it’s there today.
From right-to-left, it has Bernie Leadon in blue shirt and jeans on lead guitar, Glenn Frey on rhythm and lead vocals with long flowing hair, Don Henley on drums in a blue sports shirt, and Randy Meisner on bass.
Years later I figured it out it was taken at a festival in Holland but that’s another story.
In 1994, I was invited to write for a magazine about the Eagles’ Hell Freezes Over Tour. It wasn’t a hard task.
In 1996, I interviewed Bernie Leadon for a project which has continued for 12 or 13 years.
And to bring the story up-to-date I was given a complimentary ticket for each night of the Eagles’ multi-night stand at the O2 in Greenwich, London for the opening dates of their “Long Road Out of Eden” World Tour.
Now I don’t know if anybody actually reads this thing but if you do you’ll have figured out that music is a particular passion for me and that my tastes are very broad and much of my taste in music is not at all like the Eagles.
The Eagles, though, are somehow a constant for me. It’s music that knits my adulthood to my childhood and there’s not much music I grow out of. Once I like your songs or your writing you’re stuck with me for the long haul.
So, Eagles are in Europe and so far they’ve played four of their five nights. Two of those dates had work conflicts for me but on the other two I took up my seat in the second row in front of the stage.
These days the Eagles are Glenn Frey (hair now much shorter), Don Henley (inclined now to spend half of the show stepping out from behind the drums – but at least he’s not Phil Co@*ins), Joe Walsh (on board since 1976) and Timothy B. Schmit (the new boy who joined in 1978).
The key to these shows is the new album. There are thirty songs in the show of which nine come from the new disc.
For those who are fans, here’s the setlist:
How Long (from the new album but curiously first played at the Dutch show mentioned above)
Busy Being Fabulous (also from the new record)
I Don’t Want to Hear Any More (from the new record and sung by Timothy)
Guilty of the Crime (new, and sung by Joe Walsh)
Hotel California (opened by a trumpet solo these days before the more familiar guitar work. The trumpet solo reminds me of the High Chapparal for some reason)
Peaceful Easy Feeling (from their debut album)
I Can’t Tell You Why (from 1979’s The Long Run which was not enthusiastically received at the time but more songs have gone the distance from that album than any other record according to the evidence of this tour setlist)
One of These Nights (title song from their 1975 album)
Lyin’ Eyes (the song that more than any other earned them the label of being a ‘country rock’ band)
Boys of Summer (originally a Don Henley solo recording but now a staple of the band’s live set for 15 years)
In The City (Joe Walsh recorded it for the soundtrack of “The Warriors” movie, Eagles adapted it for The Long run album. Beautiful harmonies on a fulsome rocker)
The Long Run (the band describe this as a signature tune)
No More Walks In the Wood (close harmony number from the new album)
Waiting in the Weeds (Don Henley lyrical masterpiece from the new disc)
No More Cloudy Days (Glenn Frey song from the new album which reminds me an awful lot of the song he sings over the closing moments of the “Thelma and Louise” film)
Love Will Keep Us Alive (from Hell Freezes Over in 1994)
Take it To The Limit (originally sung by Randy Meisner and should have remained retired after he left the band)
Long Road Out of Eden (from the new record. A poetic reimagining of serving in the American Armed Forces overseas in the current era. Musically tense with a wild solo from Joe Walsh)
Somebody (Another new one. Menacing vocal from Frey and mean slide work form Walsh)
Walk Away (Joe Walsh rocker from his James Gang days)
Witchy Woman (Co-written by Bernie Leadon)
Life’s Been Good (Joe Walsh at his most manic)
Dirty Laundry (Henley targets the news media)
Funk #49 (one more early rocker from Walsh)
Heartache Tonight (no. 1 single from The Long Run album)
Life in the Fastlane (The critique of the Californian hedonistic lifestyle from Hotel California)
Rocky Mountain Way (Joe Walsh on voicebox guitar)
All She Wants to Do is Dance (Weak moment of the night)
Take it Easy (another signature song from the first album)
Desperado (Henley and Frey inhabit the Old West)