At the risk of appearing somewhat Eagles-centric, I offer one more post on this subject for now. Don Henley once wrote “Don’t look back, you can never look back”, but those of us that come from a simpler time and were raised on music that is still at the core of our very being today will always look back. It’s why we flock to concerts by heritage icons who fill arenas at ludicrously high ticket prices, it’s why we listen to XM stations like Classic Vinyl, Classic Rewind and Deep Tracks (as well as 70s on 7), and it’s why we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Hotel California album last December and Rumours this month.
I have the Timehop app on my phone and I habitually look at it each morning to see what I was doing on this day in the past eight years – it’s connected to Facebook so that’s as far as it goes back for me – and this morning it reminded me that on February 13 last year I went to the Americana Association’s pre-Grammy Salute and Tribute to Glenn Frey.
I was thinking about Glenn while watching this year’s Grammys last night on TV; last year I was doing a PR job that had me working the red carpet, and I was a bundle of emotions as the Eagles – that is the remaining members of the Eagles – were to perform a tribute to Glenn, only four weeks after he had died. Not that the guys walked the red carpet, but I knew they were there, it was at the forefront of my mind all day, and so as soon as my job was done (handing songwriter Diane Warren over to her co-writer Lady Gaga for a photo, no less), I rushed home to watch the awards and see Glenn’s grieving bandmates play “Take It Easy” one more time for the world, with Jackson Browne in Glenn’s place on vocals.
It wasn’t the last time they played that together; the following night they performed to an exclusive audience of around 300 people at a private memorial concert for Glenn at The Forum. I wasn’t on the invitation list for that, but my friend Henry Diltz was, and I saw his photos afterwards, and so I at least got an insight into what had taken place. It was a memorial of suitably grand proportions on an intimate scale, just what was right for Glenn. I wish I had been there.
But I had gone to the Salute and Tribute on February 13 at the Troubadour. I went along with Henry, who had been asked to speak to the audience about those halcyon days photographing the Eagles for their first two albums and the friendships they’d shared in the Seventies. I got to hang in the band room for the evening, talk to drummer Scott Crago and pianist Michael Thompson, who are permanent members of Don Henley’s band, who played with Glenn Frey on his solo work, too, and were Eagles sidemen for many years, and to Jack Tempchin, writer of Eagles songs including “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Already Gone”, and who has grieved openly for the past year, releasing music for and about Glenn. So It was an emotional night. I took some photos from the balcony and so in honour of this anniversary, I share them, along with what I had posted on Facebook when I got home.
A great privilege to be present at this charming and heartfelt night in honour of Glenn Frey. Being with my friend Henry meant I could be backstage (actually in a suspended room above stage with windows looking down to the stage and easy access to the balcony for photo taking). So I was able to hang out with my friends in the band Venice, who were the house band for the night, along with long-time Henley/Eagles drummer-when-Don-isn’t-drumming, Scott Crago, and other Eagles sidemen who have played with them over the past 22 years. Also I got to meet and talk at length with great songwriter Jack Tempchin, briefly meet Bonnie Raitt, Lee Ann Womack and other great roots artists who played for the Americana Association at this event. Most specially, Glenn’s wife and daughter came back after to thank the musicians, and I was able to have a conversation that made this all especially meaningful for me.