Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Frey Day On My Mind

OK, we are back from lunch and ready to put this up. I mean, it's been what? 48 hours since the last irreplaceable musician or artist or actor left the world? 72? I don't want you to think I'm slacking as this page becomes Memorial Central, the most morbid blog on the web!
I will confess this is not my toppermost music. I only have what I am going to put up today because I lived with someone who was a huge fan and I grabbed it for them when it got upgraded a while back. But I do have it, and it's a fine example of today's honoree, who passed yesterday at 67 after a battle with ulcerative colitis, a condition you do not want. Trust me on that.
But it isn't entirely about what I like. I mean, I like European Progressive Rock... am I the right guy to worry about what someone else likes? Really it's all about who contributed what of what lasting value to our culture. Who sent the most diverse bunch of folks home feeling their best after the show. Who was there to lend vibrational meaning and heft to the arc of our individual and collective lifetimes.
Yesterday we lost one of those people. I wasn't going to go anywhere near these guys -- not just cuz of them but because I try my best to tone down the Caucasian Rock Star Quotient on here when I can -- but I took a poll of friends and it was a near unanimous "Yes, please!" Even my roommate was down, and I thought he only dug hip-hop. So here we are.
Song Power is an appropriate T-shirt for Glenn Frey to be wearing, as he was one of the principal driving forces behind the band that had the most hit singles in the decade of the 1970s. I more liked them around the time of today's share, when they acquired Joe Walsh off the waiver wire for a guitarist to be named later. They actually jam three James Gang tunes in this set, with JW out front.
So Glenn Frey died yesterday, but not -- as stated by his pal and co-conspirator Mr. Henley in his obituary -- before doing what he had set out to do. Which was to be a hit songwriter and for his group, The Eagles, to become the biggest band in the world. Mission very accomplished.
The short list is their non-#1 singles... the hits outnumber the misses. Some of these songs will outlive everyone you know, have known and will ever know, forever. Yes, the music business is as near to Hell on Earth for the creatives as can be, but they struggle through and deliver the goods... sometimes the motherlode if the conditions are right. It helps a lot to have mixing bowls of Peruvian cocaine on hand and a line of gorgeous groupies stretched out to the horizon, though.
No, it's really not my call. The world decides and I report, to an extent. These guys started as Linda Ronstadt's backing band and the rest is all the historical totems of a life well lived, regardless of whether Josh opts for Tequila Sunrise or Desperado or not. A life that will enrich the lives of people the artist will never know, centuries after we who were the witnesses are long gone from here. Somehow, the accomplishments of the CEOs of hedgefunds and petrochemical corporations don't engender the same reaction from me. I can't imagine why that is.
All right, enough polemical putridity from me; let's share some hard-to-find shit. Here comes the prime Eagles piece, that used to circulate from a terribly generated VHS tape until that VHS master miraculously surfaced a few years ago. The Summit in Houston was one of the first venues to have an elaborate direct-to-video closed circuit system, and almost every classic 1970s band's performance from Parliament to Supertramp was recorded on videotape there. The date of this one is endlessly argued over, with some collectors insisting it's June 1977 and the Eagles tour list indicating it was an extra show added during a swing through Texas in November of 1976. Either way, it's one of the first where Joe Walsh replaces Bernie Leadon, and there's obviously plenty of primo Glenn Frey tunes on tap up and down the set.
Houston, TX

01 Hotel California
02 Lyin' Eyes
03 Wasted Time
04 Take It to the Limit
05 Desperado
06 Midnight Flyer
07 Turn to Stone
08 Already Gone
09 One of These Nights
10 Funk #49
11 Good Day In Hell
12 Rocky Mountain Way
13 Witchy Woman
14 James Dean
15 The Best of My Love
16 Walk Away
17 Tequila Sunrise

Total time: 1:42:54

Glenn Frey - guitar, piano, vocals
Don Henley - drums, guitar, vocals
Joe Walsh - guitar, vocals
Don Felder - guitar, vocals, banjo
Randy Meisner - bass, vocals

NTSC DVD of what looks like a 1st generation VHS master tape, possibly with overdubbed and improved stereo sound, shot by The Summit on closed circuit in the venue
I hope you all pull this down -- I just noticed it was likely taped on Glenn Frey's 28th birthday -- and get into it as we sit here awaiting news of the next muso to sail away. When that happens I'll be back to sing the praises and bury the fallen. But like I was saying, they don't really die. When they leave beautiful art for us and subsequent hominids to enjoy, it's almost as if they can check out anytime they like, but they can never leave.--J.
11.6.1948 - 1.18.2016