Twenty-eight songs, 3 hours of nearly non-stop music —including the Hotel California, Desperado, and Lyin’ Eyes— the Eagles electrified their Tokyo audience on Sunday, the last day of their concert tour in Japan. My wife and I were lucky to participate in this whirlwind songfest, perhaps the last tour the Eagles will be making. Who knows?
Inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, their first year of eligibility, and the best-selling band in US history, the Eagles have been playing music for 40 years, ever since two founding members, Don Henley (a Texan) and Glen Frey (from Detroit, Michigan) were roommates in Hollywood and formed the band in 1971. Joe Walsh (born in Kansas, grew up in New Jersey) joined in 1976, Timothy B. Schmidt (from Sacramento, California) a year later.
Factors distinguishing the Eagles are the uniform high vocal quality of all four musicians, and the lyrical talent of the band’s principal songwriters, Don Henley and Glen Frey, which gives the group its ability to entertain across a wide-range of music, from acoustic ballads to soft- rock and a country & western accent.
The amazing thing about these artists is that they are all in their 60’s, yet, like Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, whom I saw in concert last year, entertain tirelessly for hours as if they were in their youth. To see Mick Jagger perform is to watch a perpetual motion machine. It is amazing that Jagger weighs as much as he does.
Some critics suggest that the Eagles just came along in the right space in the 70’s to appeal to the baby-boomer generation, and that their music is bland, formulistic.
I strongly disagree. Yeah, given their ages they are grand-fatherly (indeed they were seen on the Shinkansen platform in Osaka with their grandchildren last week). But the Eagles still rock. Their music will retain its rightful high place in the history of rock n’ roll.
Alan Watts, arguably the Western philosopher most an expert on Zen and other Asian religions, said it best:
“The real secret of life is to be completely engaged with what you are doing. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” The Eagles work incredibly hard. Yet it is obvious that they feel passionately about their music and it is their “play.” Few people their age could entertain for 3 hours a day in 5 concerts in Japan (Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo) and then hop on a plane to give concert tours in Shanghai and Beijing the next week. Unless they felt passionate about what they do.
How about you?
All the best,
Warren J. Devalier
©2011 Warren J. Devalier