The Eagles Tell Fans Sit & Switch Off Phones During History Of The Eagles Concert
The Eagles’ new tour goes for over three hours and fans are politely requested to stay seated so as to not block anyone else’s view.
Admittedly when you’ve paid $1000 for the front row or $670 for platinum position you’d want to get as much use of your seat as possible.
There’s only one song, a reworked Heartache Tonight, where bassist Timothy B Schmit invites audience members to stand. You could almost hear audible sighs of relief — as well as a few creaky knee bones and hips clicking — as people rushed to their feet.
Naturally the audience, an older demographic for the most part, can also stretch their legs during the interval. The really interesting component of this History of the Eagles tour is that the band have requested fans not use cameras and switch off their phones. No photos, no filming and also no texting.
There are signs outside the venue and all internal doors warning “guests who fail to comply may be asked to leave”, a voiceover repeats the message several times during the show and security are on guard to catch rogue phone users.
At their first sold-out Melbourne show, at Rod Laver Arena, fans complied, with no giveaway tiny lights spotted in the crowd.
People listened — to the requests and the music, without using their phones. It was refreshing to go to a concert where the only thing illuminated inside were the lights on the band and some usher’s torches.
Last year Eagles co-founder Don Henley told this writer the no-phone zone was his idea.
“We don’t like people turning the concert into their own personal photo session,” Henley said. “We don’t like people texting during the show unless it’s an emergency. Videoing a concert with a phone is a violation of our copyright. Google own YouTube. They don’t need any more free content. We’d like for them to experience it for the first time in the audience rather than experience it on a crappy video that sounds horrible.”
Depending on your view of using your phone at concerts, Henley either acted as the Fun Police or the Fan Police, improving the night for everyone.
Luckily the Eagles have an older audience, who are willing to pay for a good night out and are happy to keep the memories just in their heads not their hard drives.
It’s hard to remember the last big tour that wasn’t documented on social media.
It’s not just older acts like the Eagles unhappy with the way technology is killing the moment. Jack White has a no-phone policy, which his own fans police when someone tries to get a sneaky digital souvenir.
Young British band The 1975’s frontman Matt Healy knows his band share a fanbase with One Direction — they’re the band 1D fans move to when they want something more credible.
However during their tour of Australia last month Healy asked his teenage fans multiple times to put their phones away, saying he was “sick of seeing Apple logs instead of faces” when he looked into the crowd.
Fans would pocket their phones for one song, max, then as soon as one phone was raised others followed suit. At least he gave it a go.
Melbourne musician Chet Faker is trying the same thing on his Australian tour at the moment, telling fans in advance they use their phone at his shows against his wishes.
Certainly when you see iPads being raised at concerts, blocking the view of anyone directly behind, you know things have gotten out of hand.
The Eagles concert at least takes people back to 1971, a time long before mobile phones were even thought of, let along polluting live shows.
It’s an extension of their History of the Eagles documentary, a brilliant film that healed a few wounds and explained their incredible success.
The secret was simple — the songs. While the film also took in the drama, fighting, excess and success, the concert leaves the sex and drugs out for just the rock and roll.
They use a few video grabs during the night, but it’d be nice if they put up some classic vintage photos or music clips, the way the Stones did on their 50th anniversary tour.
But that’s just a minor quibble — if you’re an Eagles fan, it’s a three hour history lesson that’s actually enjoyable.
There are a few tweaks from last time — early songs Saturday Night and Train Leaves Here This Morning. Guitarist Joe Walsh also gets to dominate the second half of the show — last tour saw Henley and Glenn Frey solo hits like Boys of Summer, Dirty Laundry, You Belong to the City and All She Wants to Do Is Dance.
They’re all gone, replaced by Walsh’s Life’s Been Good, In the City and Funk #49.
This tour also sees Bernie Leadon, who left the band in 1975, return for a few stints on stage, which is a nice musical happy ending.
That’s all interlaced with one of the most loved back catalogues in rock history — Peaceful Easy Feeling, Witchy Woman, Tequila Sunrise, Best of My Love, Lyin’ Eyes, One of These Nights, Take it to the Limit, I Can’t Tell You Why, New Kid in Town, Heartache Tonight, The Long Run, Desperado, Life in the Fast Lane, Take It Easy and, of course, Hotel California. Seeing the Eagles perform that live (complete with double-neck guitar) should be on every rock fan’s bucket list.
Yes, they’re asking fans to sit down but the truth is the majority of their songs are fairly mellow, especially the earlier ones.
And, once again, you realise just how widely loved the Eagles are, especially since their fans thought they’d lost them. With so much love in the arena it’s easy to see why they want to making people happy.
The Eagles play two more shows at Rod Laver Arena this week before their Eagle Rock moment at Hanging Rock on Saturday. They then play shows in Sydney, the Hunter Valley and Brisbane next month.