November 22, 2004


"The sad thing [about the Eagles live concert, 19/11 Sydney] was that the audience actually believed they were having a real and meaningful contemporary musical experience when all the music really did was reach deep into their youth and remind them that in 1977 they had a choice between XTC, Elvis Costello, the Sex Pistols, Ian Dury, and the Eagles singing New Kid In Town -- and they chose the Eagles". -- Bruce Elder reviewing an Eagles live concert at the Sydney Superdome, 19/11, in today's SMH.

Ah, Bruce, I'll bet you were the sort of commissar of taste who used to abuse people like Angus and me for actually liking the Eagles as much as all the others (and for playing a little Hank Snow or Creedence along with Per Ubu or LKJ or whatever...). It's all music, dammit, and there's a lot to be said for cynical, slick, brilliantly-crafted pop, regardless of (or because of?) the supposed lack of authenticity (urgh!) or real heart behind it.

The really sad thing here, though, is that Bruce uses the Herald to condescend to remind us all that he at least made the "right" choices way back then, unlike the poor deluded peons at the concert (or Angus and me, for that matter...). But he misses a crucial point, I think: most of the older audience really didn't have much of a choice back in 1977. XTC, Elvis Costello, the Sex Pistols, Ian Drury, etc., really weren't easily heard in Suburban Sydney in those days, nor easily accessible if you didn't already belong to the small club that went on to (retroactively) define what we should have been listening to then, and if -- like the vast majority or people -- music is only a sideline to real life, what does it matter? And why should they have sought out the other stuff?

But most of all, I suspect the audience just believed they were having fun, dammit. "[A] real and meaningful contemporary musical experience", indeed.


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