Sunday, October 23, 2022

The Eagles

The last time I saw the Eagles, I told myself it would be the last time. They put on an excellent show, they are one of my favorite bands, but I've seen them a few times over the years, and they are expensive. But that was before the show. After the show - the first of two nights at the COVID rescheduled shows at Chase Center in San Francisco, I posted the following to my Fakebook timeline:

This post is a departure from dogs, motorcycles and cigars, not the first one and not that last, but it is does run along the same theme of innocuousness. There is nothing disagreeable, controversial, adversarial, or, in the grander scheme of things, particularly important contained here. On the other hand, one could argue (I would) that nothing is more important than these small day-to-day , pleasures, victories, connections and the like. So, that’s a lot to set up this. If you’re still with me, cool. If you’re not, you have probably just skipped down to the pretty pictures and “liked” away. Also, cool.
Last night, the Eagles performed the first of their two nights at the Chase Center in San Francisco. This is the Hotel California/Greatest Hits Tour that was postponed for more than a year because of COVID. I’ll cut right to the, um… “chase” and go ahead and say that it was worth the wait. Since reforming after Glenn Frey’s passing, I’ve seen them three times - their first show in LA at the Classic West in 2017, again on their next tour in Sacramento at the G1C in 2018 and last night. All were quintessential Eagles performances, but last night was easily their best - before or after Glenn Frey’s untimely death, and prior, I’d say their best tour was their last with him, the “History of the Tour.”
Between Vince Gill and Frey’s son, Deacon, the elder Frey’s role is not recreated, it is reinvented, but in a way that pays homage to his legacy and, through his son, absolutely in his image. Yet, it was last night that the entire band, as good as it was right from the start, really came together in “that” way that few groups ever do, in the way the Eagles (almost) always have - and now they have again. There was magic on that stage. There was chemistry. Maybe it was alchemy, but whatever you want to call it, this band was truly enjoying their night, and their genuine appreciation for their fans’ - not just last night, but for more than 50 years - revealed an authenticity that cannot be faked.
I told myself this would be my last Eagles concert. While they are one of my favorite groups, I’ve seen them a lot - enough, I figured - and they are an expensive production. However, maybe this was not my last Eagles concert. At the conclusion of the fourth encore song (that’s right, Sacramento, we got four - Henley’s “Boys of Summer” was included in the SF encore set), I toyed, briefly, with the idea of going back tonight. I won’t, but when the next tour comes around - because I seriously doubt they are done - you might just find me back in the stands.
Cue the music…
🎶 I’m already gone… 🎸

I have tickets right smack-dab in the center of the 202 section in the new 4,500 seat venue (named, originally enough, "The Venue") at the Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, CA. They are in the center of the center and close, closer than I was at the Chase, at The Golden 1 Center in Sacramento in 2018 and way closer than the band's resurrection after the passing of Glenn Frey for the Classic West festival at Dodger Stadium in 2017 or the seats I had as a broke-ass grad student in Louisiana when I saw them in New Orleans for the "History of" tour in 2014.

These tickets were close to $500 each (including all the bullshit Ticketmaster fees), comparable to the price of the seats I bought for both the Chase Center show last year and the G1C show in 2018. Were they "worth it?" That's a tough question to answer. If I had to put it on a credit card and I was paying those tickets off over the next few months (been there, done that - never again), then, no, it's not. But If I have disposable cash, then I decide what to dispose it on - sometimes I might "waste it" on motorcycle parts, others it might be an Eagles concert.

None of this means I will for sure use these tickets. I bought them because I could, knowing the investment is safe (-ish; I thought that about the pre-Covid Chase Center purchase, too - then Covid happened and I lost money on my "investment" extra tickets). They made selling the tickets a little more difficult by sending out actual, physical tickets in the mail - if I sell, it will be a real, not virtual, transaction. But that is only stupid Ticketmaster bullshit, not an insurmountable problem. And at least Ticketmaster won't get a double-cut that way. But I didn't "need" the money I spent and I don't "need" to double or triple it, either. However, I will get that if I sell them as a pair (no "friend deals," don't ask), that's the payoff for the investment and the risk I took.

But I also might go. What I wrote a year ago - combined with the fact that seeing the Eagles in a one-off small venue setting is not likely to happen again soon - is pretty compelling. I mean, I can be pretty convincing. If I do go, that will leave open one important question. Fortunately, I have, literally, months to decide.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Back to School


It’s early – way earlier than I need to be up and way earlier than I would ever wake up if given a choice. There are a number of reasons why I might get up this early, but not ever for no reason, yet here we are. It happens once in a while, and there probably is a reason, but fuck if I know what it is. I guess I do have a lot on my mind, but that’s not exactly new, or exactly out of the ordinary. In fact, it would be more curious if there wasn’t much on my mind. There was also once a time when I would use these “awakenings” (makes it sound more mystic that way) to pound the keyboard, to let the muse speak though my fingers and, usually, come up with something… some thing.


But it’s been a while. Not just since an early morning up-for-no-reason writing session, but since I’ve done any real writing at all. Oh, sure, I’ve done the shit for work – syllabus writing, assignment writing, emails and even a handful of letters of recommendation – but not this. And when I say it’s been a while, we are not talking about days or weeks – it’s been months. This is the end of August and I have not written anything besides a few longish Facebook posts this entire year. And now, all of a sudden, I wake up before four o’clock in the fucking morning and the words want to come out. Okay…


Speaking of work, yesterday was the first day of instruction for the fall 2022 semester at California State University, Sacramento. The official beginning of the academic year was last week, but the first day of school was yesterday and campus was packed. It was packed like it hasn’t been in a long time. It was packed in a way that I used to hate - the monumental hassle of the first week or two of school, the traffic, the parking, the students adding and dropping classes – all stuff that is part of doing my job but not part of the job. Yesterday I didn’t feel any of that frustration, any of that hassle, any of that over-peopledness. What I felt was gratitude even though I was stuck in a monumental traffic jam trying to get to the faculty lot that would likely not have any parking spaces available. I didn’t care.


I didn’t even have to be there yesterday. I have classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, but not on the main campus. I went because I needed to pick up a couple of things, but I really didn’t – that was an excuse. But I didn’t even understand that until much later, after I got home last night. In my reflection of why I was feeling the way I was, processing it, I came back around to what in the actual fuck did I need to be there for. I didn’t. I was curious. And I could have just waited until today when I will be on campus virtually all day. And perhaps that is what woke me up. Don’t know. Don’t care. Doesn’t matter.


I’m entering my eighth year of teaching at Sac State and, if I include the teaching I did as a grad student, first at Sac State and then at Louisiana State University, my 15th year of teaching undergraduate university students. I started in 2008 at Sac State, continued in 2011 at LSU and in the fall of 2015, it became my full-time job back at Sac State. Prior to 2008, I was a full-time student for all but one semester from fall of 2003 until I received my BA in late 2007 – from Sac State. That’s a lot of time in the same area for someone who historically gets bored with not just his job, but with his entire career every five to seven years. In fact, I am in record territory for remaining with the same employer, never mind the same career.


But COVID nearly changed all that. I do not like people (as a collection, as groups, in general), but I love being on campus, in the classroom and amongst students and colleagues. It seems to be the only kind of peopling I can tolerate. When COVID hit, it reduced the one form of interaction with people that I actually like to little black squares on a monitor. The classroom collaboration and cooperation were all but eliminated and only those who were already naturally predisposed to engaging with their peers would do so – the rest (which was most) of them were content with Zoom anonymity. And it was like that for more than two years. The switch was turned almost overnight, but it took a long time – maybe as much as an entire semester or more – for it to get turned back. And, while it appears to be more or less back to the way things were pre-COVID, I am sure there are many nuances that remain, many of which will show themselves today in my three sections and one office hours session – on campus.


But I will be on campus, and so will they. And that is good, despite the monumental cluster-fuck it’s going to be. I have never looked forward to a traffic jam or a crowd or students jostling for a seat in one of my classes or any of the other first day/first week trials and tribulations like I am this week. I remember all too clearly venturing onto a virtually deserted campus on the first day of school not very long ago. This is so much better.