For anyone who thought that punk rock would destroy the popular music of the Seventies, last week was an enormous repudiation. The Eagles, who appeared June 14 through June 16 at Fiddler's Green, and Pink Floyd, who headlined at Mile High Stadium June 18, played before a cumulative total of more than 100,000 people apparently happy to have paid as much as $73 a ticket for the privilege of being there. These acts seemingly have little in common, but their Denver-area shows demonstrated that there are plenty of similarities.

Eagles: Showtime is supposed to be 7 p.m., but it's 7:30 before an announcer promises that the band will appear in five minutes--and nearly 25 minutes more before the performers actually arrive. The crowd doesn't seem to care. Perhaps 20 percent of those here look like (probably) reformed cocaine dealers, a like number their (probably) reformed ex-customers. The rest of those here seem satisfied to stargaze. Wow--there's Barry Fey, cutting a fine figure of a man (or maybe two men) talking to Channel 4's Greg Moody! Zoiks--there's John Oates, formerly of Hall and Oates! He's much cuter in person!

As 8 p.m. nears, a twentysomething behind me says to a friend, "Do you want to go get a beer?"

"Maybe--but don't you want to be here when they come out?"
"I don't care. My dad paid for these tickets."

Pink Floyd: Showtime is supposed to be 8:30 p.m., but as 9 p.m. nears, the only sounds coming from the stage are random sound effects: swooping airplanes, chirping birds. The crowd doesn't seem to care. Everyone, no matter how young or old, seems to be stoked to the gills. One guy advises his girlfriend, "When you're tripping, you need to know exactly what's going on at all times." Behind me, five men in their mid-twenties spend fifteen minutes yelling at each other, their faces only inches apart. Their favorite phrases: "Aaargh!" and "Pink fucking Floyd!" As helicopter sounds drone from the speakers, one of the men taps my wife, Deb, on the shoulder. "Excuse me," he says, "but could you hand me the bag I dropped behind your seat? It's got about twenty joints in it."

E: "We should've gone to get that beer," says the guy behind me. Seconds later the Eagles and their backup musicians (including a bongo player who looks disturbingly like a young Michael Bolton) step onto a stage designed to look like a scene from Road Warrior, except much tidier. The crowd leaps to its collective feet at the sound of the first few bars of "Hotel California," then sits back down fifteen seconds later. Still, Deb is thrilled. She's a typical Eagles fan, in that she loves the band's music but doesn't know Glenn Frey from Don Henley, can't remember the names of either Don Felder or Timothy B. Schmit and thinks that Joe Walsh, whose hair has gone completely gray, resembles Grandpa Jones from Hee Haw. During the song, Walsh pads around as if he's just had an unexpected bowel movement but can't figure out what to do about it.

PF: "Dude, guys are pissing everywhere," says one of the young men nearby. "They're pissing in the bushes. They're pissing in the trash cans." Suddenly, the stadium lights go out and the Bic lighters flare up. A mammoth plume of sweet-smelling smoke rises from the row behind me as a song from Pink Floyd's first album roars from the speaker stacks and Sixties-esque psychedelic images splash across the gigantic stage. The band's probably on stage by now, but it's hard to tell. No matter, though. "Here we go, chief," shouts a fiftyish fellow, his pipe fired. "Pink fucking Floyd!"

E: The live version of "Hotel California" is identical to the original recording, as is song number two, "Victim of Love," and every smash that follows. The musicians hardly move. Frey, looking like a stereo salesman with a Pat Reilly fixation, occasionally shifts from side to side, Felder bends his knees once in a while and Walsh stares through thick glasses at his own fingers, seemingly surprised that they belong to him. The effect is akin to watching cardboard cutouts of the Eagles while a greatest hits album plays in the background. When I point out to Deb that the players are offering note-for-note clones of twenty-year-old tunes, she bellows, "Yeah--and that's what we want!"

PF: During the band's second song, a spotlight briefly shines on drummer Nick Mason, but the rest of the group remains shrouded in darkness. The mob is into the song, but it's much more impressed by the first burst of green laser beams. In the meantime, I'm getting a major contact high. I haven't been this blitzed since 1982, when I took my last puff of pot. And it's all free.

E: "Thank you, Colorado," Frey says before inviting the crowd to enjoy some "good-time rock and roll." He then starts playing "New Kid in Town," which is to good-time rock and roll what O.J. Simpson is to mental stability. In mid-song, a man down the row from me gets a call on his cellular telephone. It's his wife, who has just had the couple's baby and can't be here tonight. Her husband holds up the phone so she can hear the music. Love, Nineties style.

PF: "Thank you very much indeed," intones Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, who looks more like British character actor Sir John Gielgud than a rock star. After promising the gathering that "you'll hear all your old favorites in the second half" of the show, he introduces "What Do You Want From Me?" from the reconstituted Floyd's latest album, The Division Bell. With an array of lights actually directed at the stage, you can finally see the musicians: Gilmour, who hardly moves, Mason, who hides behind his drums, keyboardist Rick Wright, whose only movement comes when he occasionally hunches over, and a slew of enthusiastic sidemen and background vocalists who apparently haven't been told that no one cares about them. The crowd is mellowing out, with the exception of one woman behind me to the left. As a guy close to her says, "Fuck, that chick just yakked all over me!"

E: When Frey starts singing "The Girl From Yesterday," a new country song that leaves no cliche unplumbed, hundreds more decide the time is ripe to buy some more white wine. A series of familiar hits follow, with "Lyin' Eyes" proving popular enough to induce fans to stand through the entire song. Not that the Eagles do anything to provoke this unexpected display of interest: They stand in a row, like targets in an arcade game. Hit Joe with a softball--25 points! Hit Glenn--50 points!

PF: At first I blame my inability to recognize any of the songs from The Division Bell and A Momentary Lapse of Reason--both recorded without the participation of Roger Waters, who wrote all of the group's most popular songs--on the dope. After all, my head is foggy, I've had several coughing fits and my tongue feels like a large block of Styrofoam. Then I remember that I last heard Lapse in 1987, when it was released, and forgot most of it before the album was over. As for Bell, I spun it several times in preparation for this concert and found it about as scintillating as the average Yanni disc. Far too many of the songs follow the tired Floyd formula: muted opening, midtempo verse and chorus, a Gilmour guitar solo that starts slow and builds, a repeat of the verse and chorus, another Gilmour guitar solo that starts slow and builds, fade out. Tonight, however, the music is secondary. Thanks to the extravagant lighting display, the concert is exactly like Laserium, except it costs $60 more per ticket and it's harder to park your car.

E: Frey tells the crowd that the band will play one more song and then take a break "because Joe has to pee." Suspicions confirmed. The ditty in question is "One of These Nights." Henley, seen on the huge video screens on either side of the stage, sings about wild, crazy, lost and lonely nights with all the emotion that Donald Trump might muster after being told by his broker that his stocks held steady that day.

PF: Following yet another post-Waters song, the Floyd veers into the Seventies instrumental "One of These Days." The throng goes nuts, especially when immense inflatable boars emerge from kennels mounted on poles approximately five stories above the stage--and then fall to the ground within feet of the front row! As Gilmour announces that the band will return after a brief intermission, a guy behind me shouts, "Yes! Yes! I'll never miss this, ever! That was sacred, man!"

E: Having apparently decided that they were too mobile during the first half of the concert, the Eagles begin phase two by sitting on stools and moving even less than before. While the players glide through a somnambulant version of "Tequila Sunrise," I imagine how Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon--original Eagles who were not invited to participate in this lucrative excursion--are feeling right now. They've probably got guns in their mouths.

PF: Wooo! Floyd is back! They're back with cosmic visuals, a circular video screen and totally ultracool videos filled with spacey images! And they're playing "Shine On, You Crazy Diamond," which we actually know! We can't see the band, but who cares?

E: As Henley sings one of his post-Eagles ballads, the miniature monitor he's wearing in his ear (or was it a hearing aid?) is dislodged; it hangs across the front of his shirt like a string of mucous that's dribbled from his nose. Now that he's out front with the rest of the band, rather than behind the drum kit, he's basking in the spotlight. At one point he thumps himself in the chest in rhythm to the tune. Speculation that he's doing so because his heart stopped proves unfounded: At the end of the song he speaks to the audience for the first time, garnering a response usually reserved for popes. He tells the fans, "My antibiotics thank you, my antihistamines thank you--and they're actually over-the-counter." The reformed cocaine dealers chuckle knowingly.

PF: Gilmour and company play "Time," "The Great Gig in the Sky" and other songs written by Waters, who lost a mid-Eighties lawsuit aimed at preventing his former partners from using the Pink Floyd name and using his compositions to make themselves rich. But that's not important to the people at Mile High. What's more significant is that these are the tracks to which they first got stoned--and are getting stoned again. "Do any of you motherfuckers have something to drink?" someone behind me says to a well-oiled companion. "I have cottonmouth like you wouldn't believe." Thank goodness his pal was able to sneak in some booze in a skin-lotion bottle.

E: "Put on your dancing shoes," Frey says before kicking off "You Belong to the City," a solo hit with a disco beat that hasn't aged well. A background musician is shaking a percussion instrument that looks like a coin purse as Frey roughens up his voice until he sounds every bit as ballsy as Huey Lewis. Things improve when the group plays other songs not associated with the Eagles, including Henley's "Boys of Summer" and "Dirty Laundry." The band doesn't do anything different with these numbers, and with the exception of Walsh, whose medication seems to have kicked in, they don't move much, either, but the cuts are more energetic than the material in the first half of the show. When Frey tells Denver to "give it back" prior to "Heartache Tonight," he sounds exactly like Urkel from Family Matters.

PF: Wooo! Yellow lasers! Green lasers! Explosions! Flames! After Gilmour introduces "Comfortably Numb" as the Floyd's last pre-encore song, I write in my notebook that the song's title would accurately describe my marijuana-fueled state if only I had three or four burritos. At that moment, Deb says, "Doesn't Taco Bell sound really good about now?" As the song's conclusion nears, a mirrored ball the size of a cement mixer rises from the middle of the stadium, then opens. In unison, several people close by scream at each other with delight: "Aaargh!" A teenager lies curled in a ball by the closest aisle. When he regains consciousness, he's going to be really mad he missed this.

E: Upon returning for the first encore, Henley tells the crowd that the band will be playing another new song, earning a few scattered boos. He adds that the song is called "Get Over It," which he describes as an attack on self-pity. "Everyone's a victim of this, a victim of that," snaps the man who sang "Victim of Love" about ninety minutes earlier. The tune itself is okay, but the Eagles singing an anti-whining song is tantamount to Dan Quayle hosting a spelling bee.

PF: The Floyd is doing an encore! Playing "Hey You" and some other song that, in my altered state, I can't remember! I can't remember what the band looks like, either, because I haven't looked at them for the past hour! But that's okay! And so is Gilmour, who's playing his trademark guitar solo again! It's just like all his other solos--which is exactly why we like it! And there are lasers! And more lasers! And fireworks erupting from the stage! Wooo! Pink fucking Floyd!

E: The Eagles come back for a second encore, and a third. Frey says that the band will end the show with "Take It Easy"--something they've been doing all night. Following the last note, five minutes of credits begin to roll across the video screens: Cited for their contributions are a masseuse, a hair stylist and the tour accountant. While walking to the exit, I'm struck by a frightening malady: Seventies nostalgia. I tell Deb that I feel like going to a fern bar, snorting some coke and sleeping with my best friend's wife. She tells me not to get too carried away, and after going home and turning on a Soundgarden video, I realize what good advice that was.


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