One of These Nights…..

Talon, Best of The Eagles

One of these nights….. we’ll stop and say hello at the end of the gig. Well, we’ve only been doing this for 19 years, relative newcomers, and pretty poor groupies by anyone’s standards. But we’re shy, retiring types, not ones to want to get in the way or make assumptions. And besides, getting out of the car parks afterwards is always a bit of a nightmare if you don’t look sharpish. Not that we ever miss the end, or an encore, or the opportunity to clap and cheer and stamp for more. We just know where the exits are by now, and get out quick. It doesn’t hurt that we’re still young and spritely (at least in our heads), and can race away thinking that we’ll do it next time. Next time we’ll stop and say hello and tell you it was a great set and thank you.

The Eagles need no introduction. As far as rock Gods go they’re up there with the very best of a generation, as performers, writers and musicians. The iconic Hotel California is backed up by a catalogue of equally brilliant work that spans a lifetime, another of those precious, prized bands that have become the soundtrack of my life. The Eagles are out of range though. On the rare occasion that there was the possibility of getting to a show in the same country, there were other, at the time insurmountable obstacles. And then there was Talon, Best of the Eagles.

For us, it started at a ropey, 70s styled club called Stardust (it was the 90s, it just seemed like the 70s with prawn cocktails and chicken in a basket) and a tribute band who literally took our breath away. A bunch of really talented guys, playing brilliant music and, seemingly, having a ball. So, for 19 years we’ve continued to go and watch, eating less chicken in a basket, enjoying more and more the banter between them on the stage, the additions of other hugely talented friends, the development over the years of their acoustic set, and a few twists and turns along the way. Ultimately, it’s about the music; their rendition of a body of work makes it all so much more accessible to so many more people who never got the chance to see the Eagles, but who now follow Talon in their own right just as religiously. They’re a tribute band and they do absolute justice to the music, but they’re more than that. They have their own personality and drive, a self-deprecating sense of humour and massive musical talent.

We’ve been to some interesting places to watch. We were at the Vic in Coalville when they played their acoustic set to about 6 people. How lucky does that make us? From old Theatres and Town Halls, to company cafeterias, and most recently another trip to the Pokey Hole at Conkers. We’ve already got our next tickets booked for this year and will be back next year a couple of times, no doubt. God love twitter, this time I tweeted about the show and got a reply. Now formally (!!) introduced, we’ve promised ourselves that next time we’ll take the bull by the horns and go say hello. Our ‘One of These Nights’ will be in Loughborough in November. Look out for two shy, quiet, unassuming, young ladies. That way, you’ll never know it’s us!

Queen, Adam Lambert and Trains

 

Bloody hell, I’ve missed the train again. There’s something innately late about me always. I undoubtedly arrive after the event, both metaphorically and in reality. I miss the actual and have little choice but to turn up to the party belatedly, reactionary and reflectively, but while I kick myself, there’s always the old adage that it’s better late than never.

Like many thousands of others, Queen were the sound track to my childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. I remember walking to school with my friends, every day, singing Bohemian Rhapsody, harmonies and all, making up the words that we didn’t know or understand as innocent nine and ten year olds, naively believing that we’d give Freddie and his mates a run for their money. We might not have understood all the lyrics (who does, even today?) but we had every nuance and synchronisation locked down, every lick, pause and beat, each phrase of the melody perfected, in our own little world as our voices hit the notes, and very possibly a lot of extra notes that weren’t supposed to be there.

Later on there were other songs that absolutely transcended my teenage and adult years, moments in time that Queen were a part of. Love and angst, with Love of My Life and Who Wants To Live Forever, the spirited, joy of life in Don’t Stop Me Now, the belonging and shared collective of Radio GaGa, social realism of Is This The World We Created, and the wide ranging emotional, political, learning, testing of barriers and beauty of their catalogue of hits. They were just there, constantly, on the radio, in my record collection or in my head, whenever they were needed, always relevant, comforting and encompassing.

Sadly, I had no awareness of the impact they had on me until Freddie died. There are few dates indelibly printed in my mind, November 24th 1991 is one. I remember where I was when I heard the news, saddened in a way I’d never really been, death and loss not having really touched me before that. Afterwards, they were all over the airwaves again, not that they’d ever been away, but there, sometimes in the foreground, often in the background, consistently available at the touch of a dial.

Easter Monday, 20th April 1992 is another of those permanent marker days, a day that, while it might not have changed my life, significantly changed my way of thinking. I very nearly missed that train too. I almost didn’t even make it to the station. I wasn’t going to Freddie’s tribute concert at Wembley until a couple of people I knew told me they had a spare ticket and I tagged along. I didn’t know them well, and, selfish git that I was, I didn’t really want to share this experience with them, so when I nipped off to the loo and couldn’t find them when I came back, well, that wasn’t entirely my fault, and whilst not completely planned, very convenient!  It meant I was able to live the evening for myself, absorbing and consummating exactly what it meant to me to be there.

During that amazing, electric night, I had an epiphany or two. I was gripped by those on stage paying tribute to this remarkable talent, captivated by those around me and the outpouring of love and admiration for this one man who had entranced us all in some way. I didn’t know that I knew every word to every song. I didn’t know that before that evening I’d been repressed, somewhat stunted by self-imposed restrictions about how I was supposed to live my life, what I was supposed to want and strive for. I think that was the first inkling, the first understanding that somewhere within me was a tiny spark that would grow into the ideals and mantras that became a new way of thinking, the beginnings of a more inspiring and less confined way of thinking.  It wasn’t a launching pad to strive for the extraordinary or remarkable, more the realisation of a ‘Why not?’ attitude that just allowed me a touch more freedom and expression – a passion for my own life and choices. Years later, as age and maturity allows us to grow into ourselves, I’ve become so incredibly thankful to have experienced that definable moment when I slowly turned a full 360 degrees and watched the spellbound enthusiasm and promise of infinite possibility that surrounded me.

Freddie and Queen’s legacy means that they’ve never really gone away, that they’re still as important today as they ever were, with every documentary, every piece of music, new old or re-mastered, every interview and every live show that any of them get involved in. Talents like Freddie, few and far between, come along a handful per generation, and how bloody satisfying that Roger and Brian found Adam Lambert, a massive talent in his own right, but one who can do justice to that legacy. He doesn’t have to try and be Freddie, because his own genius (it’s a considered, deliberate use of the word), showmanship and that amazing voice are more than adequate substitutes, but to walk in his shoes for a couple of hours (and what opulent and overstated shoes they are), and bring those memories of Freddie back to life for a while, well, I can’t imagine anyone, anywhere, capable of doing it better. He gets to tell the world, like Freddie did, that it’s ok to be yourself. In fact, that you owe it to yourself. It was difficult to do then, and it’s probably as hard today, but it’s a bloody important message.

Having missed that metaphorical train again, I haven’t seen the live show live. I’ve watched some live performances on the net and I’ve seen bits and pieces to try and satisfy my growing obsession. I hope I get another chance. My railcard application is in. If there are more destinations added to the timetable, I won’t be late again, I’ll be the one sleeping on the station so I get on that elusive train in plenty of time. The continuous kicking of myself otherwise is far too painful, and a less than gentle reminder of what I learned about ‘why not?’ all those years ago!