The Eagles

I saw the Eagles perform last night. I bought the tickets six months ago, and put them by the side of my bed, and waited patiently for the night to arrive.  Honestly, I have to say that I thought that something awful was going to happen and that I wouldn’t get to see the band that I had wanted  to see so badly for ten years or longer.

Glen Frey said in the movie, “The History of the Eagles” that “people did stuff to our songs.  They took trips, fell in love, had their hearts broken, got married….” (paraphrasing here).  I remember the first time I ever heard the Eagles; I was in the back of my parents’ car, driving back from Michigan (somewhere in Nevada, I think) , and “Take It Easy” came on the radio.  After days of nothing but country music, hearing Glen Frey singing “C’mon, baby, don’t say maybe” set my little pre-teen heart aflutter.

Forty years later, I sat in the dark last night and heard the band that lives in my heart as the Who does, even if they occupy a different area.  The show last night was perfect, musically and emotionally, and I would see them again in a second. They re-did the arrangements for “Witchy Woman” and “Heartache Tonight” and gave both songs new feeling. Last night, I listened to the Eagles, and the thought came to me again, the same thought that came to me as I watched the Who the last two times, and it was not a comfortable thought.

The Eagles are definitely a well-oiled machine, and there are no bumps allowed in the road at this date.  The show is big, and produced, and smooth, and well-rehearsed  – it was definitely what I wanted to see from them, and I left wanting more, which I think is always the sign of a good show. But… it seems as if we’ve gotten to a place in musical history where our angry young men are now nostalgic elders who love music and are finished and polished, instead of raw and exposed.  Maybe it’s natural progression, and it just happens as we get older.  Except it isn’t, and it doesn’t.  I loved the show; I felt as if there was little or no spontaneity, and that’s the way Glen and Don want it.

The Eagles have been through various band members, fought onstage, lifted Joe Walsh out of the deadly arms of addiction, and stayed incredibly popular, even during the ten-plus years that they weren’t a band.  Last night original member Bernie Leadon joined them onstage, and it felt like a missing piece of the band was back in place.  They ended the night with “Desperado,” and Don Henley’s voice took the song to a new place – it was the voice of a man who’s been there and back, and isn’t finished yet. It was an exquisite ending to the evening.

One-day Olympics clearance sale – everything must go!

Pick up one of these little goodies for yourself, but hurry, they’re going fast!

I loved the Olympic opening ceremonies.  I thought they were dark and strange  – and really cool:

The nurses and the poppies reminded me of the movie “Tommy,” and some of it reminded me of a Pink Floyd show, before the fans started crawling around on the floor and up the stairs during the concert (a story for another time).  And a segment on health care in an Olympics ceremony? Danny Boyle must be daft! God save the Queen! And speaking of the Sex Pistols, I noticed that during the music medley, NBC chose to cut away when “Pretty Vacant” started playing (excerpt below is from the  website http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/us-news-blog):

Punk goes pop

The Sex Pistols have long passed away from being subversive and instead become quintessentially British. But perhaps not as far as NBCwas concerned. Their song Pretty Vacant only made snatches of the broadcast either side of a break and was largely cut.

NBC did have to cut away for commercials; I just find their timing to be very interesting. I wonder if John Lydon had to give permission for the song to be used, or if he even owns the song any more, or if he even cares about it at all:

John Lydon – the man always has an opinion, even if it’s that he doesn’t give a rip.  Good thing he’s calmed down and become more dignified:

*****

I decided to stop worrying 24/7 a couple of days ago, and it’s going pretty well. I am a gold-medal worrier; I will worry about stuff that hasn’t happened yet, stuff that is going to happen, and if you ask me, I will worry for stuff that is happening or is going to happen to you, for no charge!  A couple of days ago, I surprised myself with a couple of non-worrisome hours (not in a row; baby steps!), and I felt great in a way that I hadn’t felt for years; being able to admit that I worry ALL the time actually makes me cry; it’s exhausting, and I finally figured out that I don’t want to do it anymore.  One of the side effects of not worrying is that my concentration has returned, so I’m not all over the place, and I am able to focus on what I’m doing, without wondering if I should be doing something else. For me, practicing not worrying involves a little self-talk and relaxation, as well as my understanding what needs to be worried about, and what doesn’t; it’s going to take some conscious effort, but I’m already feeling better, and I’m encouraged that in a few weeks, I will feel even better.

*****

This is kind of a neat little list, and I’m lucky in that I have all three:

Happiness is not a word that I throw around lightly – I like that this list makes happiness into something real and recognizable, for me, anyway.  Happiness doesn’t always wear a name tag, does it?  But this song might help you pick it out of the crowd of emotions in your day (sang it in sixth grade Glee Club, and never forgot it):

Summer’s knitting, inside and out

Here’s what I’ve been doing recently instead of writing:

These are all in various states of completion (two are actually finished); at last, a clear illustration of either my tenacity or my OCD – it’s a tough call.  They do look kinda cool all lined up like this, though…I’m knitting like a fiend, hoping to have these ready for the Christmas season.  I might have to throw some hats in there as well, dunno –

I can add the Turtles, and Micky Dolenz to my concert list – went to see the Happy Together tour at the Pacific Ampitheatre last night, and it was wonderful.  The Turtles, the Grass Roots (saw them at Magic Mountain when I was 13!), Micky Dolenz,and the Buckinghams; and when the Turtles launched into the beginning of “Peaches En Regalia,” which I determined was their way of saying “Hi, Frank (Zappa),”  I thought I was going to pass out from joy. Being surprised in life is….well, surprising, and I love when it happens. Well done, guys, well done.

I’m going to see “Savages” this afternoon; Oliver Stone is always over-the-top, so looking forward to some scenery-chewing, lurid, gory good times. “Moonrise Kingdom” was one of the two movies that I liked this summer; “The Avengers” was the other one.  We’ll see if I can add “Savages” to the short list – off to the movies I go!

Mom

Mom,

I miss you today, more so than usual, since it’s Mother’s Day.  You left two years ago, while in the hospital; you waited until I walked outside to make a phone call, and when I came back, the look on the nurse’s face as he walked toward me was all I needed to know. If you were still here, you would have been without a foot, as they wanted to amputate it when the sore on it from being bandaged got so bad that nothing else could be done, and it wasn’t healing because you had no circulation in your leg from the stroke, and your skin was so fragile.  I was told that even if the decision was made to amputate the foot, that you still might not make it, as you had an incredible amount of blockages in all of your arteries.

There was no one else to help me with deciding what to do, and when I asked you what you wanted to do, you said you wanted to keep your foot.  I still don’t know if it was the right decision, but it was the one that I made.

My earliest memory is of you singing to me when I was in my crib; you  usually sang “Would You Like to Swing on a Star?” I think I remember that because it had so many verses, and choices; I could be a mule, or a fish, or a pig, and that was pretty neat.

Would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a mule

A mule is an animal with long funny ears
Kicks up at anything he hears
His back is brawny but his brain is weak
He’s just plain stupid with a stubborn streak
And by the way, if you hate to go to school
You may grow up to be a mule

You loved Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin, among other crooners.  I grew up with music, dance, art, and books, because of you and Dad, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I’m all right most days;  and I miss you when the going gets rough, like it has been today. I like to think that you are with Dad, and Steve, and Naomi – give Asia a big hug for me. I love you, Mom.

Irritable me

I’m in a mood; I’ve had this week off, and spent the first three days with back and stomach issues – today has been the first day that I haven’t felt like total dirt, and now I’m just in a state of perpetual boredom, which just makes me grumpy; it’s the heart of the summer, I’m off work, and I can’t engage in anything that pleases me, except…

The one bright spot this week was seeing Eddie Izzard last night at the Hollywood Bowl. The man is a brilliant stand-up comedian, but more than that, he has the gift of improv, and looks great in sequins (last night he performed in jeans and tails, which took nothing away from his act).  If you haven’t been to the Hollywood Bowl in a while, or ever, go – set into the serenity of the Hollywood Hills (or very nearly, as Eddie would say), picnics and drinks are allowed, and the crowds seem to be civilized whenever I’ve been there, except for the guy who yelled,  “F*** you!” during the encore – nice manners, babe. As we used to say (back in the Stone Age), “I remember when I had my first beer…”

Tomorrow will be our trip to LACMA to see the Tim Burton exhibit. Heading out to L.A. with my girl Tischel – this will also be my first time to visit LACMA, so I’m doubly jazzed; cue the muted trumpet and the scratchy sax…

I’m a little peeved at the retailers who are already starting their back-to-school promotions, and I’m not even in school – I can just imagine what students must be thinking.  It seems counter-productive to me; who wants to think about going back to school, when the Fourth of July was just about two weeks ago?  Maybe parents, I don’t know; when I was a kid, my parents were planning our vacation in July, and we didn’t even take it until August, every year. I’ve done a lot of thinking about our family vacations, and here’s what I’ve come up with: my parents were both born during the Depression, and they were constantly thinking about money;  since they both belonged to unions, they were under constant threat of being laid off, or going on strike.  Both my mother and father walked picket lines, although thankfully not for long periods of time.  Consequently, our vacations were usually of the low-budget variety, and always close to home.

For the two weeks that my parents were off (and how they always managed to get two weeks off at the same time, I’ll never know), we  would go to Disneyland (still a fairly new phenomenon at the time; I wouldn’t leave without a red Mickey Mouse balloon), Knott’s Berry Farm, and Marineland.  We would also take a weekend to go to San Diego, and go to the zoo and Sea World.  When I was 14, we did get to San Francisco, which was an eye-opener for me.  I knew instantly that I wanted to live there – it was historic, poetic, rhythmic, and sexy, and even though I was only 14, I knew I liked it. Never lived there, but it’s always in my heart (or maybe I left my heart there…hey, wait a minute! Paging Tony Bennett! Time for another musical interlude…)

I remember always looking forward to August, even if we went to the same places every year; before my brother and I realized that we knew everything and our parents didn’t know anything, being together as a family was nice.  Kinda like I said before – we may have been a loud, opinionated, argumentative family, but we stuck together for as long as we had each other.  Time tends to glaze over the dissonance, and turns it into smooth interludes, and that’s how my brain remembers when…

So Time goes, so shall I – losing the prickly, and adding the happyhappyjoyjoy; I know it’s around here somewhere…

Father’s Day – within and without

I miss you, Dad.  Today is Father’s Day, and if you were here, we would probably be having a barbeque at the house; you would cook burgers, and Mom would make her “salad,” which consisted of peas, green peppers, chunks of cheese, and chopped cucumbers in Miracle Whip (I may have to make it today, just because).  You would be drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon, or Milwaukee’s Best (because “beer is beer,” which I believe is one of your armchair quotes, along with “the slam dunk should be outlawed; it’s not basketball!”), and bugging me about eating too many potato chips, even though you never gained a bit of weight in your entire life, except for a little beer belly. Your line (and it used to bug Mom, too, since we were both career dieters) was “Hell, all you have to do is eat less!”  Fabulously uninformed advice, since you never had to go on one diet; still, I loved you for it, even if I just maybe didn’t know it at the time.

Later today, we would hang out in the back yard, or watch baseball on TV. If there wasn’t a game on, we would watch an old movie, and you and Mom would debate who was in the movie:  “Is that Danny Kaye?”  “Nooo, Red Skeleton.”  “Remember his show that used to be on Tuesday nights? It was so funny!” “Who’s the actress? Virginia Mayo?” “I think it is!”  (I remember when I was a kid, waking up on the weekends to the sounds of the radio coming from the kitchen, and you and Mom doing the same thing there: “Who is that? Perry Como?” “I think it’s Frank Sinatra in his younger days.” “Remember when we went dancing that night and they played this song?” )

I know now that part of the reason that I was able to get through the last ten years was because of you, Dad.  You taught me so many things – how to spell and read and ride a bike, how to play basketball, baseball, blackjack and poker; and one of the things that I know that you and Mom both taught me how to do, just by the way that you both lived, was to keep going. I’ve kept going, through all of the pain and the loss of everyone who would have been here at the barbeque today, and I just want to say thank you for everything.  You were so much better at the dad thing than you ever knew, and if I made wishes, I would wish for the chance to tell you in person. Since I’m not able to do that, this will have to do – I wouldn’t have wanted any other dad but you, Dad.

Won’t you rock and roll with me? (Ten times)

A couple of weeks ago, I made a list of all of the concerts that I’ve been to in my life.  Doing that started me thinking about the collection of mental screenshots I have for each one (some I can share, others – some other day); here’s a few for you:

1.  Elton John did five encores at the Forum 1n 1975, and changed his outfit for each one – one of his most memorable costumes was a white sequined jumpsuit and a pink feather boa, with white sequin platform shoes. My first concert, and I was hopelessly hooked on rock and roll – my attraction started about three years before with the Beatles, and seeing Elton John resulted in a full-blown obsession.

2.  We waited in line for twelve hours to see Frank Zappa at the Long Beach Arena on New Year’s Eve, and even though we were among the first dozen or so to get in, we still ended up in the balcony.  Zappa seemed a little bored, or irritated, or both; at midnight, he said, “Happy New Year” in a monotone, while everyone else was going crazy. Oh, and our ride took off sometime in the afternoon, and never came back; we were lucky enough to find someone that we knew with a car who gave us a ride home at about 3 a.m.

3.  During the Blues Brothers concert at the Universal Ampitheatre, John Belushi was introducing the  band, and when people didn’t clap enough, he said “C’mon, lame-ohs,” resulting in uneasy laughter from the audience. Later, after he had overdosed, and I read more about what led up to his death, I realized that he was probably whacked out of his mind on drugs. (I don’t know for sure,  just speculation on my part….you make the call.) And Steve Martin, at the peak of his “Wild and Crazy Guy” white suit and banjo period? Have you ever laughed so hard that you couldn’t breathe?

4.  During the Peter Frampton concert at the Anaheim Stadium (what’s it called now? Angel Stadium?), fans were so crazy , that during his act, they jumped up and down so hard on the upper level that we could see it moving. I was really more interested in watching the upper level shimmy than in PF (no judgment; I think sitting so far away from the stage put me out of the mood for the talk box experience, although I will listen to Frampton today with no hard feelings). There were a couple of acts before Peter Frampton – Gentle Giant? Gary Wright? And Yes was the headliner; by the time they came on, I was ready to call it a night.

5.  A fight broke out between a concertgoer and a bouncer in between acts at the Doobie Brothers concert at the Long Beach Arena; the bouncer, who was twice the size of the fan, told him, “Oh, I’ll be seeing you after the show,” then sat down in his seat near the stage, and glared up at the guy all night. Don’t know what happened to the guy, but I’m guessing it couldn’t have been the ending to the night that he was hoping for.

6.  I am positive that I spotted Senator John Tunney during the intermission at the Wall show; my friend thought that I had lost it, which considering we were seeing Pink Floyd, wasn’t outside the realm of possibility.  The set also caught on fire during the show, and the band had to have a do-over on one song (can’t recall which one).  “The Wall” was one of the most overwhelming shows I think I’ve ever seen – I had no idea that it would be so significant at the time, just that it was Pink Floyd, and that I was going to see something amazing…thirty-one years later, amazing doesn’t begin to cover it.

7.   X was an outdoor show on the field at Cal State Long Beach, right about where the parking office and the parking structure are today.  It was a free-seating show, and a bunch of us were standing around and dancing, when I was knocked to the ground – some girl who was on some guy’s shoulders fell off and fell on my head.  No harm, no foul, and the band played on…

8.  When Bob Dylan sang his first song of the night, I realized that not only did I not recognize the song, but that I couldn’t understand any of the words that were coming out of his mouth.  Then I thought, “Is he purposely doing this so that the people who really like him will stay, and the ones who don’t get it will leave?” Doesn’t that sound like something Dylan might do?

9.  I won free tickets to see the Rolling Stones at the Staples Center in 2003.  The Stones played for two and a half hours, and were fantastic.  This band, at the average age of 60, had the ability to reach out and grab my heart and soul and make me dance in my seat at the other end of the arena. The Stones are the masters – and that’s a fact.

10.  Social Distortion opened for Neil Young – I had seen them once before, in front of the Student Union at Cal State Long Beach when I was a student (1989? It was a free concert, and I had instant love for the band), and had no idea that they were going to be playing on this night.  When they were announced, I went berserk – the best part was these guys sitting behind us who were only there to see Neil Young, and who kept yelling rude things, “Get off the stage! You suck!” This only served to make me yell louder to drown them out, “Whoooooo!!!!” “All right!” “Yeah, baby!”

Yeah, baby, yeah!