olden Eagles

As the Eagles prepare to storm Murrayfield stadium during the comeback tour they said would never happen, Adrienne Murphy

battles for a place at the kick-off.

bout 40.000 people are heading for the RDS. a huge open-air venue 2km from Dublin city centre. The streets are thronged. traffic is at a standstill. Tonight. in the blustery wind and rain. The Eagles kick off their first European tour in twenty years with their first concert in Ireland.

Dublin has the honour of hosting what will probably be the band’s only European press conference. a month before they swoop into Edinburgh‘s Murrayfield stadium. As journalists jostle for a place among the crowd. the seeming magnitude and devastating importance of this event becomes apparent it‘s as though royalty are about to arrive. Finally. the band stroll out casually. wearing casual clothes. and assume casual stances at the podium.

Underneath the calm these guys look serious. The ball is set rolling with a fairly harmless inquiry: after selling millions of records world- wide. did The Eagles feel under pressure to produce new music for their current album? Cue a carefully blow-dried and fit-looking Glenn Frey. He‘s up front about the fact there are only four new songs on Hell Freezes ()l'(’l’. the band’s I994 reunification album. which has already sold l0 million copies.

‘We look forward to writing new material perhaps in the future. instead of recycling this

. . although it seems to be doing just fine.‘ In four weeks‘ time The Eagles will have

'v, _’t- . c.‘ 5 ~ ‘Jk‘fie‘twuz

Watch the birdie:

(Iett to right) Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit. Don Ilenley, Don Folder and Glenn Frey

performed to half-a-million fans in Europe; why bother sweating blood and tears trying to write new songs. when you can re-reach megastardom with stuff you wrote twenty years ago.

The mood gets jovial as the lads are reminded of their last gig in Scotland in Glasgow’s Apollo. I976 where fans were treated to the vision of a be-kilted. pipe-playing Joe Walsh. and a rollicking rendition of Scotland‘. 70s American-rock-style. Disarmed by this jocular (no pun intended) remark. The Eagles seem unprepared for the next question. which innocently surfaces out of the uproarious laughter. ‘Can you take us

through the steps you took on the road to reunion‘."

Silence. ‘No.’ asserts

the long-haired. narrow- faced Timothy B. Schmit. ‘Touche’!’ They‘re the first words he‘s uttered so far. The room breaks into nervous giggles: the band are looking sheepish; the PR woman who‘s supposed to be chairing the conference goes. ‘Ummm. next question.‘

Aha. a sore spot. And it’s no wonder The Eagles‘ interpersonal relations. their break-up and continuing acrimony throughout the 80s especially the strife between Frey and Don Henley was well and cruelly documented by

‘Flower of

‘We came from a generation that experimented with all kinds of substances, so it’s not to say we don’t know about them, but we’re grown now, we have children.’

Joe Walsh

1 11m

the world’s press. What’s more. they are currently being accused of reuniting purely for the moolah. The ‘Greed And Lost Youth Tour’ is how Frey once sarcastically referred to any shows The Eagles might do again. dismissing out-of-hand the possibility of an on-stage get- together. Little wonder these fellows are on their guard.

There’s tension in the air but Frey steps in to relieve it. ‘lt’s fair to say that from the time we disbanded in I980 there were always offers of millions of dollars for us to get back together. There was a time we were close to doing it around 1990, but sometimes there’s a bit of serendipity involved. and I think what happened was that everybody‘s lives started to line up in a way that it made sense for all of us. It never seemed right before February I994. We were too busy doing other things.‘

The band are asked if they feel their ages mid-to-late-forties are a big disadvantage. ‘thn you’re young, you think you’re the centre of the universe.‘ replies Henley. ‘What was the slogan in the 60s and 705‘? “Don’t trust anyone over 30." Then you get to the point where you don’t trust anyone under 30. There are a lot of people that don’t live through this . . . We pride ourselves on the fact that we’re one of the only groups from that generation where all the members are still living - an accomplishment in itself.‘

Asked if the band plan to stay together after this tour. Frey replies: ‘Right now. we haven’t discussed anything we‘re gonna do after this tour. The best way for us to keep The Eagles together as a mothership is to take one project at a time.’

‘How much cash do you expect gross in the European tour?’ someone at last blurts loudly. at what’s turning out to be a very polite conference so far no one’s reminded the band about sixteen-year-old girls in hotel rooms. Their manager approaches the mike: ‘We haven’t actually added it up. but I will tell you that the costs of being a touring band in Europe are beyond our wildest imaginations.’

Ireland’s chronic drug abuse problem is mentioned. and a clean-cut Frey says: ‘We’re not here to take broad sweeping social commentary on something that pervades society. We’ve made our decision we don’t drink and we don’t do drugs.’ Frey once admitted that drugs. especially cocaine. had brought out the worst in the band. Joe Walsh, with surprising honesty. now says: ‘We came from a generation that experimented with all kinds of substances. so it’s not to say we don’t know about them. but we’re grown now. we have children. You can be a damn good rock band without all that stuff.’

Back at the concert, the golf umbrellas are going up to the refrain of ‘Boys Of Summer’ (‘brown skin shining in the sun’). The St John’s Ambulance people look relaxed - they won’t be resuscitating many E casualties tonight. ‘1 just feel so sad,’ says a fan, who’s visibly moved with nostalgia. ‘For the first time ever,’ announces a happy-faced man making his way back to his seat. ‘the queue in the Gents is longer than the queue in the Ladies.’ it’s been an evening of philosophical observation.

The Eagles are at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh on Sunday 4 August.

The List 26 Jul-8 Aug {996 21 h