Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Eagles, Rome’s Palalottomatica Arena, May 27, 2006

I must say that close to 35 years, if not more, flashed before my eyes at The Eagles concert in Rome. I say this because a few decades ago The Eagles had actually come to Winnipeg, but the venue for me was not only far away but in a lousy place, so I had decided not to go (if I recall it had rained and the area was full of mud, a sort of Canadian-style “Woodstock”!).

Frey, Henley, Walsh and Smith were all there in rather splendid form. They opened with “Take It Easy” and ended with “Desperado”, with all major hits in between, including the second-last song, no doubt their most popular, “Hotel California” and Henley’s “Dirty Laundry”. The concert was originally to have been staged at the Olympic stadium’s south curve but I figure that they didn’t manage to sell enough tickets, so the venue was changed to the old PalaEur arena, a.k.a. the “Sauna”. Some 8,000 people showed up.

The concert was nearly 3 hours long (the band took a 20 minute break). It was the band’s first-time ever concert in Rome, even though they had last played in Italy some 5 years ago. Bass guitarist Timothy Smith was exactly the same as we first met him 40 years ago—with thin long hair. I must say that Henley was a few pounds heavier whereas Walsh and Frey were in rather good shape. A special treat for me was when Walsh also sang “Rocky Mountain Way”. That song can also be heard as part of the “Spy Game” soundtrack with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt (indeed a great movie on the whealings and dealings of the CIA around the world!). Walsh also used the contraption which Peter Frampton and Bon Jovi’s lead guitarist have used: a tube connected to his mouth and guitar.

I always enjoy watching an American band who is against the current Bush administration: at one point Henley thanked the crowd for being there and then told some fellow Yanks in the crowd to lower the American flag as it was blocking the view of those behind them. Then he added, “We’re present enough in the world…”! When presenting the song which they had written on 9/11, Henley said: “And let’s hope to have wiser leaders in the future”! That was followed by a great roar of applause from the crowd. The band played practically three encores. Definitely a great concert for what we had paid (40 euros). All pics by M. Rimati.

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