The Best Concert Ever

The benefit tonight for Colorado Democrat Ken Salazar, running against Pete Coors for the U.S. Senate, was the best concert ever. If you are not a concert-goer, or an Eagles or Henley or Frey fan, stop reading here and go do something else. This will bore you no end. There was little to no politics involved, just a great, great show.

First off, the venue was perfect. The Fillmore on Colfax and Clarkson in Denver. It's more like a huge nightclub than a concert hall. There are no seats on the main floor which means you can dance to the music. First up was Leo Kottke. Then Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Then Ken Salazar came on stage to introduce Don Henley. By now the place was packed and ready to party.

I went with my friend Jan, who just moved here from Austin. It was her first Denver concert. We managed to get up front to where the the sound crew were stationed with their equipment. The security guy was cool and let us hang there, so long as we kept our drinks off the equipment. I talked to one of Henley's sound guys for a while (he said he was in training, there were three of them who travel with the band). He showed me the difference in equipment between the stuff Henley brought in with him and the equipment being used for the other bands, which may have belonged to the Fillmore. Comparatively, the Fillmore stuff was a dinosaur. Henley's equipment had mulitple computer monitors to guide the sound crew and was about 1/2 the size of the other equipment. It was kind of like the difference between a word processor and a computer. It looked so easy to operate and like so much fun with its hundreds of red and green lights, that after watching it in action for 15 minutes, I was ready to sign on as a roadie. Not that anyone invited me, but that's how seductive and high-tech the equipment was.

Henley was as good as I've ever seen him, and I've been to a lot of his shows over the years. He had the crowd in his hands with the first few bars of "Dirty Laundry." Then "The End of Innocence." Then he gave a little talk about a place he loved in LA where they treated him like a person and always knew his name and had the best burgers with the best Velveeta cheese that was thick and creamy and used to drip down his face. But, he said, the place isn't the same any more, it's got new owners and the burgers aren't any good, so don't go there. Don, one of my neighbors on the dance-floor, was the first to know it was "Sunset Grill."

All it took was those three songs to get a little group of us started. My new pals Tim, Don and I sang and harmonized every song for the next two hours... I owe those guys a big thanks, they made the concert almost as much fun as Henley did. Plus, I can't sing on key, but you almost couldn't tell since they were really good.

Back to the songs. There was a Tears for Fears Song that seemed to come out of nowhere, and then, Heart of the Matter, one of my all time favorites. After a half hour or so of just Henley, he brought out Glenn Frey and Timothy Schmidt. I can't remember the exact order, but it was non-stop hit after hit, inlcluding All She Wants to Do is Dance, Life in the Fast Lane, Last Worthless Evening, Boys of Summer, I Can't Tell You Why, Take it to the Limit, Desperado, Peaceful Easy Feeling.

They did two encores, one of which, of course, was Hotel California. They played for two full hours. Not one word about politics. Why no politics at a political fundraiser? Here's what Don Henley said during a KBCO radio interview that aired before the show (no transcript link, this is from memory):

He doesn't think that people listen to his songs or to an Eagles song and then decide who to vote for. The way musicians can be most effective is to play an event like a fundraiser for a candidate, and just be the entertainment. Maybe they will cause a few extra people to come out and give money to the candidate.

He said people listen to music to enrich their spiritual and romantic lives--not so much their political lives. He also said writing political songs wouldn't be as effective, because corporate radio won't play them. Although, he said, he really likes Green Day's "American Idiot." He has no illusions that his music will change the world.

There were so many people in the hall tonight that Salazar had to make out great. The crowd was younger (lots of late 20 and 30-ish looking people) and more male than female. Garth, one of the lawyers who works for Salazar at the Attorney General's office, another floor-mate tonight, is totally convinced that Salazar is perfect for the Senate and Coloradans would be fortunate to have him. I believe him. But, I think Henley's right....but for the music bringing me out tonight, Salazar would have had my vote, but probably not my money.

Another indication that Henley's right: One of my floor-mates told me at the end of the night that he's a Republican. He just came (and contributed $100 to Salazar) for the chance to hear Henley and Frey.

Henley, Frey and the Eagles are about to embark on a tour of Asia. I think the band needs an on-tour blogger for their website. If anyone knows how I can apply, let me know.

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