Soaring high with the soundtrack of my youth. Why they’re lighting up to remember Glenn Frey.

January 19, 2016

It was the most exciting concert of my life. With the oldest audience.

The Eagles in LA .. re-opening The Forum .. almost two years ago to the day.

‘I’ve got a peaceful, easy feeling .. and I know you won’t let me down.’

It was part of what we now know will be their final tour. Because their spiritual leader, the amazing Glenn Frey, is now jamming with Bowie and John Cash.

Not everyone had a seniors’ pass. Some were there with their parents. Like my kids, they’d grown up listening to the soundtrack of the US West Coast.

‘And I want to sleep with you in the desert tonight. With a million stars all around.’

This concert went way back. Their first songs .. all the way through the decades. We knew them all. Standing and singing and swaying. A capacity crowd in one of the great stadiums. This was something special.

The lady next to me was in love with Glenn Frey. She told me. Her partner may have been at Woodstock. This became more likely, once I realised that as the boys belted out ‘Heartache Tonight’, he was passing me a joint. Normal behaviour, it would seem, for such a night.

As he leant across the ample bosom of his missus, I had a slight panic attack. Visions of the three of us sharing a cell in the LA County watch house flashed through my mind.

I had already seen security search for their tasers when they spotted someone daring to take a photo of the stage. What would they think of Cheech and Chong and Panicking Aussie?

With a smooth dance move, I managed to pass on the grass. He wasn’t offended, and simply offered his reefer to the row behind. It disappeared in a chorus of ‘New Kid in Town.’

‘Everybody loves you. So don’t let them down.

The Eagles later came to Australia with the same concert. I went to that one too. Something told me we wouldn’t be seeing them again. I hate that I was right.

I took the teenager with me. It was something we’ll never forget. She knew every song. Sent selfies to her school friends, who were actually jealous. Can you believe that? Magical harmonies from blokes in their sixties, floating across high school Instagram.

‘So put me on a highway, and show me a sign, and take it, to the limit, one more time.’

My all time favourite DVD is their Melbourne concert more than a decade ago. I saw them on that trip too. It gets a run every New Year’s Eve. Saturday morning, if the housework gets too much. And a few late nights. It would cheer me up, regardless.

Except tonight. I’m listening to it now, and the sound is sad. Four blokes who guided me through my misguided youth and beyond, are now three.

Thanks for the music Glenn. Say g’day to the rest of them for us. See you next New Year’s Eve.

‘It’s another tequila sunrise, starin’ slowly ‘cross the sky. Said goodbye..’

Celebrating the sound of a generation. A special trip to see the band that shaped our young lives.

January 14, 2014

I first heard them in Steve’s garage. He’d turned it into his pad. It was the coolest place I knew. Except for Smithy’s garage. That had been turned into his pad. He had a fridge.

At sixteen, we were easily impressed. We thought we were so hip. If only we knew.

While our clothes may have let us down, my mate’s choice in music was impeccable. We dined out on The Beach Boys, and Australian Crawl, and Steve Miller band. The Mentals and the Doors were on high rotation on his ripper record player. The neighbours knew all about it.

One afternoon, he introduced me to another band. One that would send me soaring to places I’d never been.

They were a bunch of good ol’ boys with a unique country rock sound, out of the US West Coast. The Eagles.

What I recall from way back then, was the amazing harmonies. And guitar work that dazzled.

We would buy their new albums, and give them priority airtime in the garage. Any female visitors snuck in were stuck with Don Henley and Glenn Frey as well as us. Fair to say, few of them shared our devotion. Or stayed past song one.

Hotel California. C’mon, sing it with me now. You all know the words. Take It Easy. Life in The Fast Lane. And The Long Run. Our favourite.

As we got older and went our separate ways, those melodies stayed with us. Lines that bonded us. And described our journey.

We would catch up whenever we could, and dust off those tunes over cool drinks. We knew most of the lyrics. And would belt them out.

Others shook their heads. Our boys are an acquired taste apparently. That’s ok. Each to his own.

A few years back, they dragged their millionaire butts to Brisbane. What a treat. I got to do a story on my idols.

Cameraman Lukey and I managed to snag seats. What a show. Luke is the coolest kid in the class. I thought he might have fallen asleep. Instead, he loved it. Knew every song.

They made a DVD from the Melbourne concert. I have played it one thousand times. Usually late at night. With glass in hand.

They’ve been going for more than forty years this mob. And now, I’m going to visit them. Off to LA to see them in concert. Possibly for the last time. They could be in rocking chairs.

If you’re an American, going to the Friday night show at The Forum, keep an eye out for the excited Aussie. I’ll be easy to pick. Off-key, and mangling a lyric or two. It didn’t matter in Steve’s pad. I’m sure they’ll let me off.

Dads heading in the Wrong Direction. Trust me girls, there’ll be another boy band around the corner.

April 17, 2012

From Gladstone to Grafton and all i-pod docks in between, there is scented fury in the air.

The concert to end all concerts is coming to Brisbane. And no-one can get a ticket.

If you have a daughter, of any age, you would know this. The females are going wild about One Direction.

For the lucky few who’ve escaped the frenzy, possibly by being in a coma, let me explain. They’re a British band. Five ridiculously good-looking boys. With big smiles, and giant mops of hair, and voices like angels.

The lads are setting fashion trends. I saw one the other night wearing a powder blue suit coat. A sterilized version of Sir Les Paterson. Another had braces. On his pants, not his teeth. And no-one seemed to mind.

Their Australian concerts so far have been noisy, high-pitched affairs. The fans, and the boys. The madness will continue here tomorrow night.

Tickets sold out before the windows opened. Mostly, it seems, to FM radio stations. There are giveaways every few seconds. I know this, because all our radios have been switched to strange frequencies.

There’s a catch, of course. Those deep-voiced guys behind the microphone will only give the cherished prizes to older people, who are willing to make giant fools of themselves.

Sing your favourite One Direction song. Get a tattoo of your favourite band member. Impersonate a screaming schoolgirl. Want front row tickets? Try all of the above.

Of course, the youngsters think they’re the first to go nuts over some pimply boys. If only they knew.

Find a groovy grandma, and there’s every chance she was throwing her sensible underwear at the Beatles a few decades ago.

Years later, female schoolmates were going crazy over some of Australian music’s finest.

An old flame had a huge crush on Shirley from Skyhooks. She would fight to get to the front of the stage, and hurl suggestions at him that still make me blush.

A few others in the gang were Sherbert tragics. They would actually cry when Daryl Braithwaite and the other band members appeared on Countdown. The rest of us had no chance.

But they always managed to snare a concert ticket. Without making their parents become performing mules.

I only have a few hours left. Wish me luck. Or better still, send me two tickets. It will save me getting that stupid tattoo of some kid named Harry.

Stalking with a smile. The day the girls finally got to meet Taylor Swift.

March 13, 2012

It had been two years in the making. Planned with military precision. Operation Meet Music Superstar.

From Brisbane to Los Angeles to Nashville and back to Brisbane.

The Teenager was unwavering in her confidence. She was going to meet Taylor Swift.

For those who don’t have daughters, Ms Swift is the biggest thing going in country/pop music. Young, and sweet, and incredibly talented. With 11-million Twitter followers. That’s 11-million more than me, give or take a few hundred.

She sings songs from the heart. About boys, and bullies, and mum and dad. Positive messages, from a home town girl in a flowing dress.

We’ve been to see her once before. You may remember me telling you about it. Dads were lined up on chairs outside, plotting secret routes to escape the midnight madness of the concert car park.

I struggled that night. The girls had a ball. But, like the great majority of those who attended, they didn’t get to meet her.

The next day, the plan was hatched. The Teenager would write letters, and cards, and tweets, to convince one of the world’s biggest stars that they should get together. Steely confidence with a pink flouro pen.

Weeks turned to months. No reply.

She was sure that would change when we set foot in the USA. Our dream family holiday. Designed, in her mind, to meet a pop star.

And it nearly did, in our first week there. Incredibly, the girls spotted her in a Los Angeles hotel. Their first day of star-stalking looked like paying off. There she was, lunching with a friend at a swish hotel.

But it wasn’t easy. They were a few tables away. Security was hovering. And deep down, the girls knew that it would be wrong to disturb her in such a private moment. So, they didn’t. She left soon after. Golden opportunity lost.

That night, back at our hotel, The Teenager was distraught. No photo. No autograph. And no meeting.

Even after such disappointment, she refused to give up. We agreed that there’d be another chance. Only one of us truly believed.

A few weeks later, I found myself standing outside an impressive apartment building in Nashville. The memory is clear, because I’d lost all feeling in fingers and toes. An icy Tennessee wind will do that to you.

The Teenager had found Taylor Swift’s address. Here we were, delivering a carefully worded card, a necklace, and a fluffy toy lobster. And before you ask, I have no idea why she chose a lobster.

The Treasurer accompanied her into the lobby, while Daughter Two and I considered setting fire to cars to get warm.

It turned out that the security guard on duty took his job very seriously. So seriously, that he refused to accept the assembled gifts from a young Australian girl. What a guy. But The Teenager wasn’t done.

She directed our taxi to the nearest post office, and posted her goodies. With a note, advising Taylor where we were staying. We didn’t hear from her.

Others might have ended their mission there. But not The Teenager. There was one more chance.

And that brings us to a special night in Brisbane last week. The Taylor Swift concert.

The girls did the usual stalking activity that day. Checked the hotel. Arrived at the concert early, to stake out the back entrance. Nothing.

A select few hard-core fans received passes to get to the front of the crowd. The Teenager missed out, again. And at that minute, watching her face, I thought the dream might finally be over.

I told her to enjoy the concert, like everyone else. She smiled, and said she would. And that she’d get as close as she could to Taylor, just in case. God love her.

As the concert progressed, she was lost in her admiration of the singer. As well as the screaming and jumping. She didn’t notice Taylor’s minders working the room.

They were looking for fans with something different, to meet the star after her concert. Qualities that set them apart from the rest. Like a girl who spent part of her family holiday standing in the freezing cold, delivering gifts for the artist she adored.

After all her efforts, it was her good-natured perseverance in Nashville that did the trick. They were moved by her passion. And thankful that she hadn’t been a pest that day in LA.

So it was that The Teenager, Daughter Two and The Treasurer met Taylor Swift. They laughed, and chatted, and had a photo taken. The dream came true.

The Teenager was right all along. She refused to accept that she wouldn’t meet Taylor Swift. Even if no-one else had faith.

Good things happen to good people. I’m so happy for her. And there’s a lesson here. Never underestimate the power of a fluffy toy lobster.