Sunday, 8 April 2012

Another concert: The Eagles

My friend Amanda and I have made it our mission to see old rockers in concert. We did Smokie in 2008 and Neil Diamond last year, so nothing was going to stop us seeing the Eagles. So, last week, it was off to the fabulous Cape Town Stadium once again, and this time Amanda did the booking and got us seats a little closer than the mile-away ones I managed to secure for Neil. (I also took binoculars – a necessity if you’re sitting anywhere in the stadium other than in the first +-30 rows down on the field.)





I began panicking a little as concert time approached – at 7.50pm, minutes before the band was due to appear on stage, the stadium was still embarrassingly empty. How could one of the best groups alive play to so few people? But it was just the typical Capetonian disregard for time that was at fault, and by the time the Eagles came on at 8.30pm (a trendy half-hour late), there were bums on almost all the seats.

10 minutes to go to play-time:
where the hell is everybody??
Show time: the Capetonians
come drifting in.












Which is where they stayed, sadly. As happened at the Smokie concert at Grand West, security guards were militant about stopping people dancing. I think there’s something fundamentally wrong about being forced to stay seated while the band on stage is playing its support-hose off, clapping their hands above their heads and urging people to join in. This isn’t a symphony concert, for god’s sake, it’s a rock concert – the music is designed to dance to!

This wasn’t, however, a problem for the woman sitting next to me. She was probably in her early thirties (so way too young to have been around when The Eagles were really hitting their stride), and she simply wrapped herself in a blanket and dozed off for most of the concert. Then, when the first unmistakable bars of ‘Hotel California’ drifted out over the audience, she suddenly came alive. She threw off her blanket and, jiving enthusiastically in her seat, sang every word of the song, incredibly loudly and completely off key and right in my ear. The minute the last strains died away, she wrapped herself back up in her blanket and went back to sleep.

There were, in fact, a surprising number of youngsters (in their teens and twenties) at the concert – a credit to The Eagles’ music, the appeal of which clearly spans generations. But, not surprisingly, the vast majority were ‘oldies’ (over, say, 40), and this was a problem when it came to identifying our seats from the numbers printed on the tickets. The printing is very small, so all over the stadium we saw people of a certain age, holding their tickets out at arm’s length and squinting to try to read their row and seat numbers, or scrabbling in their pockets and bags for their reading glasses. Haha!

A highlight for me was Don Henley’s ‘The Boys of Summer’, which isn’t actually an Eagles song (it was written by Henley and Mike Campbell, guitarist for Tom Petty, several years after The Eagles disbanded in 1980), but which, since the band reunited in 1994, now forms part of The Eagles’ collection. Listening to Henley performing it, I remembered where and when I first heard ‘The Boys of Summer’: back in the summer of 1985, driving along in Terry’s beach buggy! It was a fabulously nostalgic moment.


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