It may seem fitting, or perhaps, ironic, that Beck has released “Blue Moon”, the first track from his self-proclaimed new album of "California music…the songs are coming out of a California tradition. I'm hearing the Byrds, Crosby Stills and Nash, Gram Parsons, Neil Young – the bigger idea of what that sound is to me." During the heralded launch of the renovated Forum with a six night stand by The Eagles.
Beck has held province as cutting-edge stalwart since his first release. As he examines the history of ‘California rock’ in his forthcoming record “Morning Phase”, The Eagles are documenting it in their concerts at The Forum.
Industry pundit, Bob Lefsetz, in one of his more sincere proclamations, reveled, “Take the 405 to Manchester. Or La Cienega from downtown. Southward as you go. Because five more times this month the biggest band in Southern California history, in American history, is demonstrating what it was once like. When we were addicted to the radio, when going to the record store was a pilgrimage as important as a trip to Mecca or Jerusalem. When we couldn't wait to get home and break the shrinkwrap and hear what our favorites had to say.”
When it was announced that The Forum would re-open, it was destiny that The Eagles would be the choice to revive this great Los Angeles institution. Irving Azoff, their manager and long-time Svengali, has a considerable financial interest in the building. But, after witnessing one of their opening nights concerts, only a cynic would focus on finance, rather than the romance of the event.
Everything you may have heard about the renovated facility seemed accurate to me. The sound was impeccable, the gigantic 4K screens were dynamic, the seats plush, and, yeah, the beers still cost a car payment. The Forum’s walls are covered with celebratory photos of all the legendary acts that played the hallowed hall.
The Eagles understood that history, and how it is entwined with their own, in their performance. Starting out with just Glenn Frey and Don Henley sitting on amps, they reminisced about their own ‘long road to Eden’. Subsequently, each member of the band gradually made their way to the stage. At times, augmented by long-standing sidemen, they delivered stunning eight-part harmonies on a list of their most memorable compositions. The Forum’s new sound system was integral to hearing those amazing vocals.
The Eagles, like Beck, paid homage to their own heroes, citing Linda Ronstadt, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Beach Boys, Jackson Browne, and, yes, The Byrds, as they took us all back to a time when ‘the California sound’ was being birthed. My own memories of those days seemed to have been perfectly stored, not only in my mind, but in that “Fabulous’ hall…
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