Eagles Had Landed
As a Bangladeshi
generally when you think of Singapore two things come to mind:
hospitals and more hospitals. It is safe to assume one does
not (at least I don't) associate a strictly regimented, near
perfect, almost Orwellian, society to host a rock concert
by one of the most successful bands of the 70's. I am talking
about the legendary rock band The Eagles and their concert
that I had the good fortune of attending on Oct 18, 2004 in
arrived two days before the concert, the city bore no semblance
that a major rock event was about to shake the grounds of
this tiny island. No posters, no newspaper ads, no billboards.
Some of our Singaporean friends were equally oblivious of
the event and were even perplexed by our visit there during
Ramadan. The music stores (HMV, Borders etc.) were not helping
to instill our confidence either as they were busy promoting
the latest rap release. The Eagles were conspicuously absent
and we were getting worried. Only when we got the tickets
(and a few phone calls) were we sure that we were at the right
place at the right time.
12,000+ fans who congregated at the Singapore indoor stadium
to witness the one-night-only spectacle, there was a strong
six-member Bangladeshi contingent. At 20:20 hrs, the lights
began to go dim (no, my head was not heavy) and I could feel
my adrenalin rush out of sheer anticipation, finally the lights
were out and it was pitch dark. Then the drums came rolling
down and we heard Don Henley's' distinctive husky voice "
I used to hurry a lot, I used to worry a lot….."
it was The Long Run kicking off an evening to remember.
laser effects, no pyrotechnics, no bodacious choreographers,
no sound effects. The concert was LIVE in every sense of the
word. Loud guitars, thumping drums, blowing horns; just raw
talent emanating a sound that transcended generations. The
demographics of the audience, covered the entire spectrum
from pre-teens to post-new age, from long hair to gray hair,
they were all there - almost like a family outing. The audience,
however, were not your typical energy exuding, proactive,
screaming, rock concert audience which was unfortunate. In
line with Singaporean discipline, the audience' participation
was almost mooted. They were enjoying, no doubt but the spontaneity
was absent. The atmosphere was great but not thrilling. One
would be forgiven to think that the fans were clapping in
tandem as well!
extravaganza featured a whopping 22 tracks and a full back-up
band including a 4-man brass/horn section who, with their
jet-black outfit (black berets, black shades), could well
get inducted as members of Nation Of Islam had they not been
white male Caucasians. The multi-instrumentalist Al Garth
of Loggins and Messina fame who led the horn section- played
the violin and the trumpet. Eagles, for their part, played
a string of their hits including, "Wasted Time",
"New Kid In Town", "One Of These Nights",
"Take It Easy", "Life In The Fast Lane",
"I Can't Tell You Why", "Love Will Keep Us
Alive". In addition, the individual band members also
sang their solo hits including "Boys of Summer",
"Dirty Laundry", "Heart Of The Matter"
by Don Henley, Glenn Frey chipped in with "You belong
to the city" et al. The climax was, of course, Hotel
California and this song deserves a separate paragraph.
a break of 5-10 minutes, a single beam of light appeared on
Al Garth that was reminiscent of Star Trek's telepod. A melodious
tune came out of his shiny golden trumpet and it took the
audience a few seconds to recognise that he was playing the
notes from Hotel California - the entire stadium just went
ballistic. Don Henley began, "On a dark desert highway……..".
Then at the end of the song when Don Henley sang the chilling
finale, "…..you can check out anytime you like
but you can never leave" Joe Walsh took over and played
out one of the most memorable guitar solos in the history
of Rock 'n' Roll. That moment I knew I got my money's worth.
itself looked like a motley crew: Timothy B. Schmit seemed
stuck in a 70's time capsule while the rest of the members
had all shed their post Woodstock, unkempt, hippie image and
looked all grown up, mature, clean cut, clean shaven, neatly
attired. If they donned black suits, they could easily pass
as Wall Street investment bankers. Don Henley and Glenn Frey
were at the forefront. While the former appeared to be reserved
and serious, Glenn Frey provided some comic relief when he
dedicated the song "Already Gone" (prematurely)
to George Bush, referred to "Take it to the limit"
as the credit card song, and claimed that "Lying Eyes"
was inspired by his first wife the plaintiff. Joe Walsh was
the showman. His striking blonde hair was in sharp contrast
to his outfit - psychedelic sweatshirt, sweat pants, and sneakers.
He was zestfully romping all over the stage and entertained
the audience with some great guitar solos. Though well in
their 50's, time did not seem to have dented the bands' energy
even by a molecule.
song of the evening was, fittingly, the lovely ballad "Desperado".
As the final curtains fell, I realised I had witnessed rock
history. The Eagles may be old, but they are not a relic.
And if this concert was any indication, the band should be
rocking for some time to come. This tour was dubiously called
"Farewell I", thus, I presume there will be Farewells
II, III, and more as I suspect The Eagles will be flying again.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004