One of those Nights!
As a lifetime lover of great music and a crusader for The Eagles*, my heart was racing when I heard that America’s biggest selling band of all time (over 120 million albums) were finally coming to sunny SA. I had to be there!
Fate put me in touch with John Langford of Big Concerts who kindly extended an invitation to my wife, Eileen, and I to see this Super Group at South Africa’s premier indoor venue – the Super Bowl at Sun City. Wow! I had already made plans to see these icons of rock at Soccer City so this was a serious alteration to that bucket list: The Eagles - indoors and outdoors - in two days. It couldn’t get better! Or could it?
John (who had realised my passion for The Eagles) casually told me that he had included me on the “meet and greet” list where a handful of folk would meet the band before they took to the stage. I have had the honour of meeting many special folk in my time (Nelson Mandela told me never to name drop) but this would be an indelible treat.
And so it came to pass! Alongside old friends, including radio legend Jeremy Mansfield, Country star Kurt Darren and Bidvest honcho Lindsay Ralph (sorry Madiba) we waited to say “Hi”! The tension mounted and, a little like my first date, it was all over in a flash! Out walked Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B Schmit and the bad boy of Rock ‘n Roll, Joe Walsh. Eileen and I were somehow (yeah right) first in the queue and were suddenly talking to, andhaving photos taken with, four of rock’s greatest Hall of Famers! How do yourespond when Joe drawls, “Thanks for listening to our music man,” and Don quips“Andy, please enjoy our show”?
By the time we got into the Super Bowl, the band were already delivering astirring four part harmony of Seven Bridges Road followed by greatrenditions of How Long with a string of great songs over the next twoand a half hours. Show stoppers such as one of rock’s greatest anthems, HotelCalifornia, and the haunting Desperado had the crowd applauding indisbelief whilst bad boy Walsh’s guitar prowess mesmerised all in attendance. Asfor the onstage backing musicians, they were superb! My only regrets were thatthey omitted classics such as New kid in town, One of These Nights, TequilaSunrise, Waiting in the Weeds and Best of myLove - though with such an extensive repertoire it must be very difficult to please everyone.
Sun City would be a hard act to follow but The Eagles were just as great the following night at Soccer City, where a crowd of around 30,000 came to experience their magic. Big Concerts are determined to get it right, and work with all stakeholders, to address and communicate appropriate and adequate arrangements. I have committed to assist wherever possible and, with their help and genuine attitude, we will get it right!
* The Eagles were formed in California in 1971 as a backing band to Linda Ronstadt with original members Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon (replacedby Joe Walsh ex James Gang in 1974) and Randy Meisner (replaced by Timothy BSchmit ex Poco in 1977). Don Felder joined in 1974 and was acrimoniously fired in 2001.
In my column in the last RI, I promised my predictions for Team South Africa’s 2012 Paralympic medal count. As SASCOC will only announce the final team in June, this would be premature - so I will take a rain check! If the Nedbank National Championships for Physically Disabled in Durban were anything to go by, South Africa could be heading for another Gold Rush!