Sort of…I had no connection there, so I wrote notes in my MemoPad, to transfer, now…
6:18 PM – I’m standing in line outside the Verizon Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, GA, the opening night of the Eagles’ “Long Road out of Eden” tour, and the first event in this new venue not counting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s performance the other night, which one of my fellow line-standers said was “awful”. OK…let’s hope it was the music, and not the venue.
At any rate, I fall, age-wise, somewhere right in the middle of this crowd; i.e., half the folks here have grandbabies. This ain’t the same crowd that Snoop Puppy Poop will find. It’s an orderly group, too; I don’t expect any real ruckus unless somebody’s pacemaker starts going haywire. There is one middle-aged lady with an Eagles tat on her back, but other than that, this crowd is basically the same as one you’d find at a high school soccer game. It’s a long road out of Eden, they sing, and it’s a long road from hungover redneck to this crowd. Wouldn’t surprise me if a solid majority here were Republicans. Call ’em the “survivors”, and chances are most of ’em figure that if they made it this far, a la Joe Walsh, they ought to try to live to see old age. But a little “Hotel California” on the way there will certainly produce a peaceful, easy feeling…
6:32 PM – Just about to open the gates, and I saw a guy reading the Wall Street Journal…bet that during the Hotel California tour, he was reading the Village Voice…
6:40 PM – First big score of the night: though you weren’t supposed to bring lawn chairs in, they have ’em to rent for $5 a pop. Ah, well…but then, I heard the magic words: “first 100 seats FREE”! Too good to be true? Nope! Chair scored; position on lawn secured (flat spot, under tree, dead-center). Perfect.
7:02 PM – The Verizon Amphitheatre stretches out in front of me as the crowd files in. The lawn, where I’m sitting (otherwise known as the “cheap seats”, even if they aren’t “seats”) is filling up first, but that’s not surprising; the folks actually sitting in the seats in front of me paid bigtime for the right to sit in the covered section (rain is a possibility this evening; glad I bought a cheap poncho at WalMart), and since their seats are reserved, they can whisk in here at 5 ’til 8 and be right on time. That gives ’em a precious few extra minutes to close the deal or something that’ll probably net ’em more money than I’ll make in a decade.
Right in front of me are a group of twenty-somethings, about the only such group I see in the place. I was singing along with “The Long Run” before their parents had even met…ah, that’s cool; some things, like the Eagles, are timeless. 51 minutes ’til showtime.
7:49 PM – Time for the pre-concert potty break. A quick tour of the souvenir stand reveals overpriced event t-shirts (I’ll pass) and other paraphernalia. I ate before I came so that I don’t have to pay a big price for food–that makes what I spent for the ticket (two days ago, under face-value, on Craigslist) a little more palatable.
The boys’ll be out shortly, I guess. I’m going even money that they open with “How Long”, that or “Long Road”. Let ya know shortly. So far, so good with the weather. We have a moderate cloud cover, but no sprinkles–yet. Hope the poncho can stay in the bag.
8:00 – Showtime. Wonder how late we’ll start?
8:11 – Figures make their way onto the darkened stage. Ready to rummmmbble…and the opening song is…”How Long”. A prophet and don’t know it…boys look great in black suits and ties!
And the predictable follow-up is “Just Too Busy Being Fabulous”. Cool song. Steuart Smith with a nice guitar solo at the end.
“I Don’t Want to Hear Anymore” features Timothy B. Schmitt’s soaring vocals. The unsung member of the group, I love this guy’s work. He doesn’t seem to be in best voice tonight, though. Shame.
Read the other day that that nut Joe Walsh brings 30 guitars to play. Now he’s singing “Guilty of the Crime”. I bet he is.. He can do things with a guitar that are illegal in 29 states.
8:30 – The only girl who feels compelled to clap after every song is a blonde right in front of me. Nice…
Awesome Spanish-horn intro to “Hotel California”. Classic. The best song of the modern era. Steuart and Joe are adding a funky new riff mid-song… That song never gets old.
“Peaceful Easy Feeling” followed. The five-part harmony? Awesome.
“I Can’t Tell You Why” is the song that Timothy B. does best. Just sounds a little hoarse tonight. Steuart’s work on the end of that song is so smooooooth.
“Witchy Woman”? Wasn’t expecting that oldie! Unfortunately, some decidedly unwitchy women decided to “dance” in front of me. Uh…yeah.
Glenn then dedicated the next song to his first wife, “Plaintiff” (yeah, you guessed it, “Lyin’ Eyes”). Last line of last verse speaks truth.
Chick in front insists on dancing whole time. Only person in the area doing so, and just about perfectly in my sight line (not that I want her to be). Blocking “Boys of Summer” rendition. At least she isn’t singing…at least loudly. Check that…now she’s “harmonizing”. And I’m rebuilding the carburetor of a 72 Plymouth. I’m trying not to wish a twisted ankle on her.
Now Joe’s talking–and singing “In the City”.
Don next. This man is one of the greatest songwriters of our lifetimes. And “The Long Run” is one of his best.
9:17 – Intermission.
9:39 – Lights out; time for the second half! Bet they’re NOT “back in black”. Wrong…still have the suits as they sing the acapella “No More Walks in the Woods”, off the new album.
Next up was my personal favorite from the new album, a song called “Waiting in the Weeds”. Acoustic guitar led the way as Don took the lead. Steuart joined in mid-song on mandolin. Sweet!
“No More Cloudy Days”, also from Long Road, followed with Glenn on lead.
Did I say that “I Can’t Tell You Why” was my fave by Timothy B.? Well, it is, except for maybe “Love Will Keep Us Alive.”. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
Next up, an all-timer: how do you top “Take it to the Limit”? Not easily… Thus far, far as I can tell, best sing-along of the evening.
This ought to be good…title cut from the new album. If you haven’t heard it, the song is like 10 minutes long, an anthem. Good stuff, with good background effects. Cultural analysis with wailing guitars.
Next song was “Somebody” from Long Road, with Glenn on the lead. Coulda sworn it was Don on lead on the album, but missed that one!
10:21 – Ole Joe is fixin’ to do something funky…yep. Seems to Me he is! “Walk Away”…with hot guitar licks by the master of hot guitar licks. Joe Walsh…like fine wine…
“One of These Nights”…Dancing Queen just about came unglued.
After introductions, Joe took over again with Helmet Cam and did “Life’s Been Good”. The man is nuts…a pictorial/video retrospective from the long-haired years was a fun touch.
“Dirty Laundry” is the Eagles’ ode to our paparazzi culture of celebrity. Kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em when they’re down. So true. Right on, boys…
Then Joe and Glenn went mano a mano on guitar as a lead-in to “Funk #49”.
10:55 – “Heartache Tonight” is the perfect song for this time of night. Not sure why; just seems right!
I bet “Life in the Fast Lane” is next…prophet again!
11:07 – The Encore. They haven’t done “Desperado” yet…
“Rocky Mountain Way” first…
Then, “All She Wants to Do is Dance”…
And then, the second encore…Desperado has to be coming!
“Take it Easy”, and…of course, “Desperado”. The boys brought it tonight!