Every year in the Spring my company organizes a concert for us and a few hundred customers. This year the conference was in Denver, and the performer was Don Felder from The Eagles. If you’re unfamiliar with the history of the band, I’m not going to get into a whole “who is Don Felder” thing here. Perhaps names like Don Henley and Glen Frey are more well-known, but Felder was a core member of the group, wrote Hotel California, and, like the rest of them, fought famously with his band mates.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t too sure how this show would turn out. I thought it might be like seeing an Eagles cover band. It was not like seeing an Eagles cover band; it was one of the best shows we’ve ever had. Many people said it was the best show, but I’m still partial to The Animals from last year. Whether or not it was the absolute best concert we’ve ever had, there’s no denying that it was truly and excellent performance.
In addition to Don himself, his backup band was an all-star group of musicians. The keyboardist played with Stevie Nicks, and the backup guitarist played guitar for both The B-52’s and The Goo-Goo Dolls.
But let’s talk about the bassist for a moment. It’s not easy to upstage a former Eagle, but this guy came close.
He had arms like tree trunks and the face of a cage fighter. By contrast, he’s an operatically-trained vocalist who sang all the high notes. He did most of his parts in a beautiful falsetto that belied the fact that he looked like he could literally tear your limbs off your body. He was a pretty good bass player too.
Shooting this show was not without its challenges. The location was a place called Mile High Station, which is just around the corner from Mile High Stadium (now called Sports Authority Field). Like all our shows, it was an intimate venue that afforded us close, personal access to the band. It took me awhile to figure out why it was so hard to get good shots, but eventually I realized that the stage was physically lower than normal. Even though I was only feet from the performers, I still had to contend with people in front of me. I wasn’t about to bully my way past those who were dancing in the very front row, but that meant I had a lot of heads to maneuver around.
In the above image, that woman is conveniently blocking the water bottle Don had attached to his mic stand for the whole show. Most of the time, though, I had to dart out through the front row, snap a few pics, and then fade back into the crowd. Although I tried to be courteous, I still probably upset a few people. And, oh man, there were smart phones.
Not only was there a sea of phones up throughout the whole show, but people were constantly running up to the lip of the stage and turning around so their fiends could take a picture of them getting in Don Felder’s way during the performance. The band was really cool about it, but I was a little embarrassed. This is rock royalty; show some respect.
Of course, he finished with Hotel California. Don switched guitars between almost every song, but for the finale he actually introduced his famous double guitar.
He plays the opening, acoustic-sounding, part on the top neck and then rocks out the closing solos on the bottom.
It was a fantastic show. We’ve now had several great concerts in a row, so I can only hope that next year continues the trend.