Peregrine flight

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Steely Eagles

I had extraordinarily good fortune yesterday. I received a phone call from my friend Chip in the morning, did I want to go see the Eagles/Steely Dan at the forum in Inglewood last night? His treat?

Well, heck yes I did. I asked him where the tickets were and he said that it was a surprise. Okay, no problem. Coincidentally my friends Mick and RoxAnn were also going, Peter saw the show last week.

This was cool because honestly somehow, I have never before seen either band and while I like the Eagles, I love Steely Dan.

We arranged to meet at the Park n' Ride in Oceanside and headed up, stopping at a hipster joint near the airport for ramen and dumplings first. Nice.

We drove over to the show and I was blown away when we were seated.

Third row center. I was tempted to leave right then and there. 

What, I'm not good enough for the first row?

Seriously, the seats were outrageously good. 

I am a talker and quickly made friends with those friends around me in the rarefied section, wanted to suss them out.

Lady behind me saw three other Eagles shows this week, making it to everyone of them. 

Next she is flying to Phoenix and Austin. 

Another father and son flew in from Utah. 

A guy from Rancho Santa Fe said this was his fiftieth Eagles show. 

I know that nobody in this section paid less than four figures for their seat and some of them considerably higher. 

These people are in love with the Eagles and beyond seriously devoted.

Sort of like deadheads without the psychedelics. 

Very committed. 

Even the ushers were gushing about the performances this week.

Steely Dan came on and delivered an incredible set. 

Their musicianship is stunning, their background singers spot on. 

A greatest hits package but what a library of hits! 

Felt so good to see them live. Great drummer, great guitars, great horn section.

My favorites? Maybe Kid Charlemagne and Dirty work? Was hoping for a Royal Scam or With a gun, maybe something from Pretzel Logic.

Honestly I could have left after their set, I was so elated. 

The Eagles came on and delivered their own greatest hits package.  Really played well. According to the regulars near me, it was identical to every other night, the patter, the jokes, the music. Except for Life in the fast lane, the same as the other nights, note for note. Here is the setlist.

Now the vocals were perfect and the musicianship exemplary, but like the last band we saw at the Forum, Fleetwood Mac, the performance was so tightly scripted it had barely room to breathe. No improvisation whatsoever.

I could easily have just bought the record. And that is what Henley intended and it obviously doesn't make a bit of difference to his legions. Fine, they are not a jam band. They sing like canaries, that is enough.

It was pretty and the tunes both catchy and certainly a part of the great American songbook; the mnemonic nature of the affair didn't make the slightest bit of difference to the person who would subject his or her self to identical inputs over and over again.

Or should I say fifty times in a row.

The exception? Joe Walsh. Joe acted like a human out there and brought the energy, in fact he kicked it into another gear. 

Good thing he was there frankly, as hard rode and put away wet as he looked. 

I never exactly understood his fit in the Eagles, now I do.

There were six guitars on stage at one time or maybe seven if you count guest J.D. Souther.

And as good as Vince Gill is and that is very good, at least last night the second best guitar player out there was longtime but relatively unknown accompanying guitar player Steuart Smith.

One ridiculous thing about their performance was that there was an incessant guitar change with every song. 

Six guitars and they couldn't play them for more than one song?

Seriously? Is that really necessary?

Smith plays, amng other guitars inclding a tele and an SG, a 335 with a thumbpick, everything he did was perfect. Wonder if he draws full Eagle pay? He should.

My favorite song of the night? 

Meissner's I can't tell you why, delivered by Timothy B. Schmit. 

Was hoping for a train leaves here this morning or a duelin dalton but no longer in the playbook.

Schmit comes to my shows in Santa Fe but never stops at my booth. 

Actually a hard working bass player and very good singer of the high parts.

I would say the night went off without a hitch. 

The only time I was taken aback was when, Henley, standing about twelve feet from me, announced that tonight's show was sponsored by paxlovid. I had heard a rumor that he had covid and I really hope that it is over or at least, no longer contagious.

I actually like Henley's writing, always has a healthy dose of cynicism, which I always appreciate. just don't want to share the disease.

We wanted to get back on the road, both tired and we left after Hotel California, skipping the encore. Eagled out. But really happy, great night. Got back at one in the morning. Thank you Chip!

1 comment:

Blue Heron said...

True story:

When the Eagles did the original Hell Freezes Over tour, in the early 90s, they opened it in orange county, and the next night they were in Denver at Fidler’s Green, and I was at that show. Most expensive concert ticket I ever paid for, considering the time, $225. Well worth it. To this day it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended.

They also closed the tour in Denver, at mile high stadium. Ticket was the same price, and I left halfway through the show. It was horrible in part, due to the acoustics, but mostly due to the bickering on stage between the band members, including Don Felder. Especially Don Felder.

Anyway, Joe Walsh, in my opinion is in the pantheon of rock ‘n’ roll’s elite elder statesman, including David Gilmour, Nick Lowe, Paul Weller, and a few others.

As always, I tried to comment, but Google locked me out for some reason.

Cheers… RC