Photo by Tom Egelhoff
Photo by Tom Egelhoff

It was a night like any other cold March night. Sitting at the computer blogging and commenting on Facebook.

Along comes a Facebook message to me about an Eagles concert coming to Billings in June.

The message is a special invitation to buy advance tickets 3 days before they go on sale to the general public.

My first thought was a Facebook scam of some kind. But quickly went to the Eagles website and saw they were indeed coming to Billings.

So we ordered the tickets and crossed our fingers. Few weeks went by with no tickets so I called. They did have a record of the purchase and tickets were mailed out to us.

From a KURL-TV 8 report in Billings:

MetraPark marketing and sales director Ray Massie says 9,500 people attended the show, which sold out within four hours when tickets went on sale. Massie says Tuesday night's concert brought in more than $1.4 million, making it the highest grossing show in MetraPark history. It broke the previous record set the last time The Eagles performed in the Magic City back in 2004.”

Our Obsessive Concert Planning

My wife is one of those lists making people. She writes down all the things that must be done to pull this off and for everything to run smoothly? “Smoothly” being the operative word.

We immediately found a motel across the street from the event venue. Although they said it was across the street it sort of was if you included a field and industrial park.

You could see the MetroPark but it would be about a half-mile walk to get there. But as luck would have it — they had a shuttle service.

In spite of everyone in the hotel going to the concert we did manage to somehow catch the first shuttle and were there about an hour before show time.

I was concerned about finding the shuttle to return to the hotel after a sellout show. More on that shortly.

History of the Eagles Concert

After attending the concert it was easy to see why these guys sell out in a matter of hours. They are all in the middle to late sixties, as am I, as was almost everyone that was there.

I played guitar in a band when I was in my late 20’s and it was tough then just keeping your hands working. Daily practice was a necessity because your musical skills diminish quickly.

These guys have been playing for 40 years and to do a show that started at 8PM and went past 11PM with a short 30-minute intermission. That’s pretty remarkable.

Not sure I could pull that off even at my best.

In addition, they are musically perfect both in vocals and musicianship.

Not talking about perfect for their ages, talking about perfect period.

We’ve all heard “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” and “Hotel California” countless times on CD. But to play all those songs without ever missing a note, or forgetting the words, or adding something extra never happened.

You could close your eyes and it was exactly, and I do mean exactly, like the record. Every note, every sound.

If they changed anything they told us it was a new arrangement or what to expect in advance which was a nice touch.

Harmonies were spot on, and the sound mixing while powerful did not make you wince or cover your ears.

The video graphics were great and were a great addition to the music and the telling of the “History of the Eagles” story, which was the theme of the show.

Closing The Show

The first song in the closing encore was of course “Hotel California,” followed by “Take It Easy” then “Rocky Mountain Way.”

We started moving toward the exits because I didn’t want to be standing on a corner in Billing, Montana, such a fine site to see — us all alone at midnight after missing the last shuttle.

But we came out of the building and there was the shuttle bus ready to go. No waiting. So all in all things went pretty smoothly.

Unless you want to hear about the lines to the women’s restrooms. They sold a lot of beer.

Some Final Thoughts

Each section has some superhuman Eagles “roadies” that would pounce on anyone who had a cell phone lit up.

They were very serious about no pictures and no filming of any kind. And most people, probably because of the age group, were respectful of that request.

I thought we might leave the MetroPark high from pot smoke since The Eagles were born in Southern California during the early 70’s and were big substance abusers at that time.

I thought the place would be filled with “flower children” but I guess this crowd outgrew that and were just grateful their brain cells still allowed them to function as human beings.

I would estimate the average age of the crowd at somewhere between 50-70 years old.

But they were dancing in the aisles. Not us of course — well maybe a little.

If you get to see these guys before they run out of gas it’s well worth your time. They created an amazing body of work that will be around long after all of us are gone.

One more great experience off my bucket list — to see the greatest band ever.

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