A warm summer’s evening, and Anfield is filling up. There’s a buzz of anticipation. I love this place, it is so full of memories for me. But this isn’t another of those high-tension nights of European football. This is about recapturing a peaceful, easy feeling.
The Eagles are back in town and I have returned to the city where I first encountered the band in 1973. Forty-nine years ago. How is that possible?
A roar of delight greets the intro to every song. Suddenly we are back there, standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. In the 70s, nobody imagined rock stars would carry on well into pensionable age.
Yet today many of them are still on the road. Elton John was here recently. Macca has just turned 80 and stole the show at Glastonbury. And here are the Eagles reprising their timeless back catalogue, celebrating a half-century of making music.
True, they’ve had their ups and downs, creative differences, and a lengthy break-up. But eventually hell did freeze over and the touring resumed. Tonight’s set list reflects their long musical journey from soft California rock to a harder-edged sound. Taking it to the limit, one more time. Back in 1973, this was all in the future.
At the time, I was working as a journalist for the Liverpool Echo. I’d gone along to the Empire to see Neil Young, not an unknown support band from the West Coast. But the Liverpool crowd liked what they heard, and grumbled that Young hadn’t played enough of his greatest hits.
My friend, there to do a review for the NME, suggested we go along the road to the Adelphi Hotel to grab a word with the star. He walked past us in the corridor and disappeared into his room. Having failed to obtain an interview, we retreated to the bar in the Adelphi basement. We joined some young guys sipping beers, chilling out listening to some jazz. We complimented the desperados on their set. They smiled and bottles clinked. And that was how I got to hang out with the Eagles.
Now, 49 years later, I am gazing at a distant stage, watching them run through their impressive back catalogue, every number performed immaculately. Yes, I know Don Henley is the only original Eagle still in the band, but somehow that doesn’t seem to matter, because the music still draws us all back. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” After nearly 50 years, I’m still here, enjoying life in the (not quite so) fast lane. I wonder, will today’s generation of rock stars still be playing live to their fans in the 2070s?
By Peter Gould
Live image by The Guide Liverpool