An Evening with the Eagles

I did something very wild and radical this week to celebrate my 55th birthday – went to a concert on a Monday night, all the way in Atlanta! But not just any concert – my son Adam and I went to see the Eagles. They are one of only a few legendary bands that I would make the sacrifice of a school night for, and it was definitely worth it, even though a week later I am still recovering!

The crowd was definitely older, with lots of gray and bald heads looking slightly bewildered to be at Phillips Arena on a week-night.  However one of the vendors told Adam, “These folks sure drink a lot of beer!” – well, we’ve had lots of  time to practice.

Let me start by saying that I have never been a huge Eagles’ fan, not like someone who has all their albums and has kept up with their ups and downs over the years. But as a teenager in the 70’s, their songs were just always there, playing in the background. Their “History of the Eagles” tour, in which they stuck to their many Number 1 hits, felt like going back through my life. I don’t think I even realized how much a part of my life the Eagles’ songs have been until I heard them on Monday.

It seems hard to believe that they were pretty out there in the early 70’s  when you see them up on the stage now, clean cut (for the most part), making jokes about having a cold and being on legal pharmaceuticals. They were long haired, druggy rock and rollers. I always wanted to be kind of wild, but it just wasn’t me. I was an A student, Southern Baptist, church going, John Denver, Carpenters kind of girl. My sister Anne, on the other hand, who was 3 years older than me, was a Marshall Tucker, Eagles, Stones kind of girl. A lot of the early Eagles’ songs remind me of her and of a few boozy week-ends visiting her at UNC-Charlotte, where she spent her freshman year. She had to drop out when she got too sick to keep going, and the cancer took her life in 1976, so those songs are bittersweet for me. 

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Anne’s high school graduation, 1974

I always think of Anne when I hear “Hotel California”, my least favorite Eagles’ song.  It came out in 1976 and I think it represents that very confusing and painful time in my life after she died.

The last thing I remember
I was running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
“Relax” said the night man
“We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you like
but you can never leave!”

A theme of sadness and despair is laced in their songs . I always thought “Your Lying Eyes” was very poignant – hearing it at the concert brought tears to my eyes for the poor woman who thought she was getting what she wanted by marrying that rich man “with hands as cold as ice”.  I battled with depression and unresolved grief for many years after Anne’s  death .  I thought I would leave it all behind me when I spent a semester in Italy my junior year of college, but found out I had brought it with me across the ocean.

My oh my, you sure know how to arrange things
You set it up so well, so carefully
Ain’t it funny how your new life didn’t change things,
You’re still the same old girl you used to be. 

On a more upbeat note, I belted out “Already Gone” for all those guys who broke my heart before Keith came along – and it’s a great running song too!

Cause I’m already gone
And I’m feeling strong,
I will sing this vict’ry song
Woo,hoo,hoo!

“Already Gone” has one of my all time favorite lines in it – someday I will write a sermon about this-

Well, I know it wasn’t you who held me down,
Heaven knows it wasn’t you who set me free,
As often times it happens, we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key.

Didn’t Jesus say something about the truth setting us free?

In 1979 I spent a summer working at a dude ranch in Colorado and  trying once again  to be wild. This  Wake Forest girl was very much out of her element in the Rocky Mountains, but I must have had angels watching over me to protect me from anything very bad happening! “Take It Easy” always sends me back to that time of freedom and self exploration:

Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
And take it easy..

Fast forward 17 years to 1996 when we took our first trip out west as a family. Adam was 8 and we had a great time. We flew into San Diego, then drove east and spent about a week around Arizona and New Mexico hunting rocks, going to the Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest and visiting the Mormon Flakes in Snowflake, Arizona. And we spent a night in Winslow!

Well, I’m standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona,
Such a fine sight to see
There’s a girl my lord in a flatbed Ford
Slowing down to take a look at me.
Come on baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me
We may lose and we may win
But we will never be here again
so open up I’m climbing in to take it easy.

As the band got rockin’ and rollin’ toward the end of the show, I was singing and crying all at the same time, but these were happy tears at how my life has turned out. Maybe being reminded of those difficult 70’s helped me appreciate standing next to my handsome and successful son, and I was thankful for the wonderful life I have had. And since I don’t like to separate the spiritual and secular in my life, I was praising God! We bopped along with this one with Joe Walsh:

Lucky I’m sane after all I’ve been through
I’m cool (he’s cool)
I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do
Life’s been good to me so far!

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They finished out the show with the haunting lyrics of “Desperado”. I stood and cheered with my fellow grown up teenagers as we recognized the part the Eagles have played in our lives, and how much more living we have to do! Sure am glad I let somebody love me!

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses
Come down from your fences and open the gate
It may be raining, but there’s a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you
You better let somebody love you
You better let somebody love you
before it’s too late.

Here is a link to all the great songs the Eagles performed at their concert.

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5 thoughts on “An Evening with the Eagles

  1. Love the rundown on the Eagles– they really were the background music of our high school years, right? So glad you got to see them with Adam. Happy 55!

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  2. Isn’t it amazing how our brains fuse specific songs with certain memories, people, and seasons of our lives? I loved hearing the memories triggered by the music. Even the sad ones. They are the brush strokes that painted the present-day Millicent.

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  3. When I hear a song from my youth I can suddenly visualize where I was, who I was with, as well as the tastes and smells associated with it. Memories are powerful things.

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