For much of the ‘70s, the Eagles and Chicago were my favorite bands. Every single appealed to me and I could hardly wait to hear their next releases.
The Eagles changed, and pulled off the nearly impossible task of redefining themselves. They were an amazing Country Rock band, that came along at the perfect instant in time for Country Rock to become a force in the charts. Take It Easy and Peaceful Easy Feeling were perfect for the mood. Then, just a few years later, they took a step towards the Rock side of things and broadened their market appeal, without totally abandoning the Country side of the equation, or the fans that loved their Country material. Lyin’ Eyes was a great Country tune and One Of These Nights was a great Rock tune, but they were from the same album. Truly, it was an amazing balancing act for the Eagles to bridge between two worlds. And that all happened before Leadon left and Walsh joined up. Having Walsh and Felder in the same band was another shift, and the Eagles pulled that off, as well.
They split up, they returned, and then they got rid of Felder, recorded some new material, and went on to the shank of their career, if you measure by the number of years.
But, in spite of having every Eagles album and having played a lot of their material, over the years, I have pretty much gotten over the Eagles. I have two complaints.
First off, replacing Felder with Stuart just doesn’t do it for me. Stuart is a fine player; excellent, but he is not Felder. Like him or hate Jim, Felder’s personality was expressed in his music. I saw a clip of the Eagles Hyde Park concert, and they showed a closeup of Smith playing Felder’s lead fills in Lyin’ Eyes. They might as well have cut to a clip of me playing those lines. The notes would be the same, and the fingering identical, but I’m not Felder, and neither is Smith. When I cover Lyin’ Eyes, I play some of Felder’s fills, but I also play my own. I, a majority of one, would find it a lot more palatable if Smith played homage to a handful of Felder’s original fills, then play Smith’s fills.
My second complaint is harder to work around. Frey died, and he was such an essential part of the Eagles’ sound, and the Eagles’ image, that he can’t be replaced. Actually, I applaud bringing Vince Gill on board, and I think that it makes more sense to allow the band to change with the loss of Frey, than to hire his son in an attempt to preserve Frey’s contribution.
The problem reduces to the old Ship of Theseus conundrum. If you have a famous ship that was victorious in battle, and replace one board, is it still the same ship? How about two boards, four boards, or eventually, every board, but one at a time? I would accept the argument that it’s still the same ship, but what if you reassembled all the boards you removed from the original ship? Which of the two would be the Ship of Theseus?
I love Chicago, but when Terry Kath died, it was no longer Chicago. Actually, I’m paraphrasing Robert Lamm, a founding member of the band, when I say that. Since Kath’s death, over 40 years ago, the band has changed, and changed even more. The years have taken their toll on this band (which has been around for 55 years), and the question of the Ship of Theseus looms large. These are musical heroes, to me, but I wouldn’t care to see them in concert, because all I would see was a once proud ship, with too many replacement boards.
So it is with the Eagles. At this point, Henley is the only founding member, and the current lineup has more in common with a cover band than it does with the original Eagles. They are good; excellent, in fact, but it’s not the same band. Yes, legally, they have the right to bill themselves as the Eagles, but the personalities of the original band are absent with but one exception.
Contrast this with Paul McCartney, who plays Beatles material, but doesn’t try to be the Beatles, in spite of the fact that he has more right to do so than anyone else, save Ringo. This isn’t 1964, and there’s no way back to that time.
We are all the Ship of Theseus. I am, quite positively, the same person I was at 16 years of age, but I am also much different from who I was at 16. Not one cell in my body remains from that time, but I am the same personality, albeit in a much more refined state. When McCartney sings Yesterday, he is still Paul, but Paul, as a person, has changed a lot, over the years. So it is with all bands.
For my money, my time, and my attention, the Eagles are irretrievable. I wouldn’t go to see them in concert, even if it were free. It’s nothing against them, but at this point, they would only serve as a reminder of how much has changed in the last 50 years.
There's a guy in the video clip of the altercation that attempts to intervene, but still holding his beer in the other hand carefully trying not to spill it! In true Lebowski fashion: "Careful, there's a beverage here, man!"
Heck, he did pay $15 for 12 ounces of warm beer in a plastic cup, so can't really blame him.
I thought we weren’t allowed to make references to the ‘C’ thing here.
Wanna hear something funny? A few years ago our band was playing at a popular Memphis night spot when a fight broke out. We were covering “Get Together “ by the Youngbloods, you know, “come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now.” The fight quickly went out the front door next to stage left and a couple people broke it up. Both girls were asked to leave and forbidden to return.