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Recording Mythology, Pt. 46 / Twenty Years After Hell Froze Over

 

New Years Eve.

 

I didn’t have anything to do.

 

I refuse to give the police state more leverage against me, so I didn’t get on the road at all, nor did I set off any fireworks.

 

The county that we live in has outlawed fireworks, restricting our ability to celebrate freedom from oppression. Right. Naturally, thousands of normal folks are forced to become ‘outlaw for a night’ and take the scenic thirty minute drive just over the county line where mobile firework stands appear and disappear within a week. Needless to say, the skies around here burn on the holidays.

 

The dude down the road must spend a fortune on thunderous nuclear warheads which he patriotically detonates with fierce defiance every July 4 and New Year, so we just watch his money explode instead.

 

I quit drinking.

 

I no longer allow the government to tax my pleasure. It had become apparent that they, as well as big alcohol, profited far too much from addiction, depression, and violence, and I despise crony capitalism. I still miss a good glass of wine, but my CFS had gotten in the way anyhow.

 

As far as pot goes, I used to enjoy it when it was a inspiring buzz rather than a useless stone. The new stuff sucks. And once the government gets a taste of the revenue they can obtain in taxing the stoners in Colorado, we’ll see who “won”.

 

Coffee is my drug of choice now. French Roast.

 

To be completely honest, I had no yearly resolutions to make. I work on big things in a nine year cycle, so this was a typical night for me.

 

I decided to settle in and review a concert documentary which I’d stumbled across a few days before.

 

Jeez,” I thought aloud when I came across the DVD, “twenty years have already passed since this concert was recorded!? Where has the time gone?”

 

Believe it or not, 2014 marks two decades since hell reputedly froze over.

 

The Eagles formed innocently enough back in 1973 when Glenn Frey and Don Henley sat down to try and write a few songs together. Things coalesced, and the band got really big, really quickly.

 

In the ten years that followed, there were minor personnel changes. There was the addition of Don Felder, later the departure of Bernie Leadon, the addition of Joe Walsh, and finally the departure of bassist Randy Meisner whose shoes were filled as well as could be expected by singer/bassist Tim Schmitt.

 

The perfection that such an act expects from themselves and one another takes a toll over the years and as the old saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. In many ways it had gotten to where they were competing only with themselves. By 1980 the fellows couldn’t stand to look at each other so they parted ways.

 

The friction was supposedly the worst between the two who had started it all. When asked if the band would ever perform together again, a frustrated Henley replied, “Yeah…when hell freezes over.”

 

Tough odds to overcome. 

 

But hell froze over fourteen years later. The members last comprising the band were carefully reunited with the assistance of Irving Azoff, everybody shook hands, and rehearsals quietly began.

 

If only everything could be done so expertly.

 

Now, I was always impressed, above all else, with the quality of the songwriting of the members, thus was a fan of the band off the bat, so my objectivity in this respect may be drawn into question, but few acts have garnered my monitary support throughout their entire existence, and the Eagles were no exception.

 

There was one album which I didn’t buy due to my severe distaste for all things cowboy.

 

Never caring to stand out, I certainly never have gone out of my way to fit in.

 

The explosion of the urban cowboy fad in the mid seventies was too much for me. I heaped scorn on anybody who wore boots, and especially a hat. Pure Prarie League, Michael Murphy, Marshall Tucker, and many other acts that ‘went cowboy’ received the butt of my ire. To this day, I do not own a copy of the Eagles ‘Desperado’ album, so that should prove something.

 

Finally, the band hit their stride in bucking trend and playing to their strengths. Dead-splat in the middle of the disco era, the Eagles were writing gems like Hotel California.

 

The performances presented in this reunion concert were absolutely spot on.

 

Most of the best songs throughout the band’s tenure were there, and the absence of Meisner was held in silent respect by their not attempting to perform any of the tunes which he’d penned and sang. A sensible move. Schmitt did a couple of his own memorable songs instead. He’s a fantastic bassist, and also sings as good a high harmony as anyone, but there’s only one Meisner.

 

This is a sticking point for me: I’ll always remember Tim as being a member of the band Poco. He wasn’t in the Eagles long enough to replace the image I have of Meisner in the lineup. To be honest, it took me a while to get comfortable with Walsh as a member of the band. He’ll always be part of the James Gang to me.

 

The guys claimed to be nervous their first time out before an audience in so long, but once on stage, the professionalism which they’d honed from previous years and countless tours came back in a performance which melded the five into one, and it all appeared so effortless.

 

When the band began the opening chords to songs such as ‘The Last Resort’ and ‘Wasted Time’, I held my breath. These fellows were really putting themselves to the test, but they delivered with astounding accuracy. This was no half-assed concert put on on in an attempt to make some fast money. It was obvious that the band was hell-bent on proving, not only their durability, but their merit, and they did it with colors flying.

 

Professionalism at this level is something to behold, and nothing short of mesmerising.

 

 

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About Johnny Nowhere

Johnny Nowhere is a songwriter/composer and owner of Hell Paving Company, music publisher. Johnny doesn't really exist outside of the music industry and Facebook. He is simply a figment of my imagination.

One response »

  1. I hold the same sentiment as yours toward these fine gentlemen.

    Reply

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