Did y’all watch the Grammy’s?
It was heartbreaking to watch Jackson Browne and the Eagles play together as a tribute to Glenn Frey who passed away on January 18th. They performed “Take It Easy”, which Jackson Browne wrote with a little assistance from his upstairs neighbor Glenn, while living in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles.
Jackson would end up giving this song to the Eagles and it became their first #1 hit on their first album in 1972.
There’s been many other times that Browne and the Eagles have played together throughout the years. And one of those times I remember with fondness, because I was there along with the other 55,000 in attendance.
It was the most anticipated concert of the year, the twentieth anniversary of the death of James Dean just two days away; a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, the skies clear and blue, the temperature perfect for an outdoor concert at Anaheim Stadium in Orange County, California. My boyfriend (now husband) had asked me out on a date and purchased tickets to see one of my favorite groups. I was so excited. I had only been to a couple of concerts before and this was my first outdoor concert at a stadium and it was huge.
Huge perhaps is an understatement. Yes, there was a huge crowd. Yes, there was huge anticipation. Yet, it was the performers that made this concert such a huge event.
You see, the Eagles weren’t the only band who played that day. Besides the opening act Toots and the Maytals, we were entertained by Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne with his two year old son frolicking across the stage. Cute!
Do you see how much it cost for this concert?
Ten bucks! Ha, ha, ha! Mind you, ten dollars only bought you general admission. But that just meant it was festival seating. Since the stage was set up in center field, everyone stood and sat as close as possible. Yet, as it turned out, we were at an advantage because those with assigned seats were clear in the back.
First to perform was the group Toots and the Maytals. While they never achieved the commercial success of the Wailers, Toots & the Maytals were nearly as important in the history of Jamaican music as Bob Marley.
Next came Jackson Browne. Okay, I’ll just come clean right now and tell you I had a huge crush on Jackson Browne. What girl didn’t? And when he sang Doctor My Eyes, no girl in the audience had a problem with their eyes. We could see just fine. My, oh my. ☺
Then Linda Ronstadt took the stage and wow what a voice. “You’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good, baby you’re no good.” I don’t know who or what she was talking about because she sounded really good to me.
Finally, last but not least, the Eagles walked on stage. Now you have to know this was quite a turn of events since the Eagles were once the backup band for Linda Ronstadt. Oh what a difference a few short years can make. But that’s the amount of success the Eagles had achieved even before their Greatest Hits album was released the following year becoming the best selling album of the 20th century.
And to think this occurred before the Hotel California album.
Yet, here we were rocking out to hits such as Already Gone; Witchy Woman; On the Border; One of These Nights; James Dean; Take It to the Limit; Peaceful, Easy Feeling; Desperado; Best of My Love; Along with the rich harmonization of Take It Easy and Lyin’ Eyes.
Now how many bands do you know can kick out a stream of hits such as these in a matter of 3 years?
But that wasn’t the end of the concert.
As the Eagles began to end their set, a surprise guest walked on stage.
The crowd went crazy. None of us knew this was his initial introduction into the band. We had no idea he would be there. His name wasn’t on the ticket.
He began strumming a riff with his guitar. Over and over, the notes flowed through the airwaves and took over the entire stadium. We all knew we were in for a special treat when we recognized the song.
Oh yeah, baby. Rocky Mountain Way.
The crowd went wild. Everyone was on their feet, including those in the back in their seats. People were dancing, jumping up and down, hootin’ and hollerin’. And when we turned around, we noticed something strange, something quite frightening.
We watched as the whole upper first tier of the stadium tottered. We’re talking reinforced concrete nodding up and down like an ocean wave filled with row upon row of bouncing people.
Was it an earthquake? Were we actually having an earthquake? After all, this was California.
We had no idea if the tier would collapse, or if the people would live through the song, until it became evident that the tier bobbed up and down to the beat. Ah, this was no earthquake. The girders were reacting to the weight as everyone danced and stomped to the rhythm of the music.
I looked over to my boyfriend who knew a thing or two about construction and he reassured me that the building was made to give with weight or in case of an earthquake. Okay, that made me feel a little bit better. But at the end of the song, they made an announcement from the stage asking everyone on the first tier to sit through the encore.
What an experience. It was a one of a kind experience that I will never forget.
This memory brings me back to the other night. I was surprised and amazed how Don Henley and the rest of the band were able to pull it together so soon after their founder and close friend had died. Although, if you watch closely, you can see the strain and bittersweet sorrow on their face, as each respectable member cladded in black, struggled to make it to the end of the song. In fact, when Jackson Browne sang the line, “but we will never be here again,” he almost lost it.
Well, I lost it and so did many other fans. Yes, it would’ve been nice if they’d had a more formal introduction. And of course the fans would have loved to hear more than one song.
But you know what? How they got through that one song is beyond comprehension. These men were dealing with raw emotion. Their hearts were still bleeding from the unexpected loss of their colleague and friend, and the knowledge that they might never play as the Eagles again.
We’re all going to miss you Glenn.
“There’s a hole in the world tonight,
There’s a cloud of fear and sorrow,
There’s a hole in the world tonight,
Don’t let there be a hole in the world tomorrow”
So even though Glenn Frey is already gone, let’s hope his memory will still linger on.
So what do you think? Did you watch the Grammy’s? Are you an Eagles fan? Who is your favorite group? What fond memory do you have of your favorite concert?
Cheers everyone! I hope that life is treating you well. And, as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!