Ed. Note: Updated at 1:42 p.m. to include information on Don Henley's medical condition we received from Eagles manager Irving Azoff.
For more photos from Sunday's final day of ACL, see our slideshow here.
It's just a few hours after the Eagles left the stage at this year's Austin City Limits Festival, closing out the weekend. Rocks Off made it, through almost 40 hours of music over three days, drinking our weight in tea, beer, bottled water and Red Bull. And maybe one or two mixed drinks. Our feet are white and our legs are tanned brown and dusted with dirt, making an interesting visual.
Sunday started for us bright and quasi-early (in music-festival time) with Warpaint, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, and the sad news that the world lost soul man Solomon Burke, who passed away in Amsterdam at the age of 70. His spirit lived on in some of the day's acts like Trombone Shorty, T Bird & The Breaks and the Relatives.
Indie-dance groovers Yeasayer were a huge draw at Zilker's AMD stage, playing to their thirsty audience while also gearing up people camping out to get up close for the stage's next act, the Flaming Lips.
Earlier in the day we met the Lips' Wayne Coyne in the media tent and thanked him for the band's appearance at Free Press Summer Fest, which was arguably one of the most magical shows Houston will see this year. A few hours later he stopped back for some free Salt Lick biscuits, fried chicken and sugar-free Red Bull. He's just like all of us, except he crawls out of vaginas onstage.
Before our night shift of shows started, we got word in the media area that the Eagles' Don Henley had a stent put in earlier in the week, which explained the band's recent dates being pushed back a few weeks.
Stents basically help blood vessels do their job, keeping the stuff flowing and you alive. They are pretty serious business, and by all rights Henley probably shouldn't have played the show, but you can't deny an estimated 65,000 people expecting to sing along to "Hotel California."
Earlier Monday afternoon, Aftermath got an email from Eagles manager Irving Azoff explaining that Henley had recently had his knee, not his heart, worked on. However, we heard about Henley's supposed cardiac problem and subsequent surgery from a member of the Eagles' crew not less than an hour after he had dined with Henley. Either way, from the way Henley was jumping up and down during the band's set, it looked like he was in pretty good shape all the way around.
We watched the last half of Band of Horses, who sound to us like the angelic sides of the Beach Boys mating with My Morning Jacket or Drive-By Truckers. It's pretty, peaceful, serene stuff, and was a good mix with the rapidly setting sun.
The band covered Cee-Lo's recent single "Georgia" to close their set, repaying him for his cover of their 2007 swooner/weeper "No One's Gonna Love You." Part of us was really hoping for a woodsy recitation of "Fuck You," but that wasn't in the cards.
Dallas' Norah Jones started right after BOH on the smaller ZYNC stage, and went about surprising most everyone who came walking by. She's not just a piano-sitter anymore; she's now able to play blistering guitar. We feel pretty late to the party. You can call her "Snor-ah Jones," but she's got music in her genes. Look up her dad someday. Dude's name is Ravi Shankar.
We heard most of her set from around the corner, and tracks like "Young Blood" completely scorch live. "Don't Know Why" was in there too, but she had to give the blanket-sitters something to chew on. Some of the expanses Jones and her band had going on had a Floyd-like element. She was still drifting off the stage by the time the Eagles' lights went down.
At 8 p.m., the whole east side of Zilker was a mass of humanity waiting for "Seven Bridges Road" to kick off their set. Henley looked smaller than we saw him and the boys at the end of June at Toyota Center. He now sports a gray goatee, more than likely giving away his natural hair color. Joe Walsh seems to be the only one in the band who wants to be a silver fox.
The Eagles ended up playing an abbreviated version of the set we saw in Houston earlier this summer, cutting off some of the fattier portions, mainly one or two new songs by our deduction. Even the stage banter from Glenn Frey seemed to be the same.
Henley wasn't on the drum riser, leaving the heavy lifting for longtime Eagle sideman Scott Crago. The band's lone Texan sang his beleaguered heart out and helped out on smaller percussion.
There was no mass exodus before the band went on, as some had predicted. When the Eagles were announced as headliners this spring, it led to a a lot of online bitching and moaning from people vowing to either to not go ACL at all or to leave Sunday evening before the band's set time. Zilker was packed to the gills up until they bowed out at 10 p.m.
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No matter what anyone says, the Eagles were a good fit for this festival, if not a favorite of the in-crowd. They brought in the older cats, possibly exposing them to younger bands, while also somewhat schooling novice teens about how awesome Joe Walsh was solo and in the James Gang. (He got the biggest cheers when he was introduced to the hive of fans, naturally.)
The Eagles were a safe bet, if not the life-changing musical event that some people would have rather seen. They were a populist choice for sure, but this festival is constantly changing year by year. Some years it's heavy, and sometimes it's mellow.
This year's ACL went incredibly smoothly, with almost no hitches that could see, save the Gayngs bus debacle. The heat was oppressive on Sunday but that's nothing compared to last year's "Dillo Dirt" exposition.
Let the predictions for next year begin... now. Come on, ACL, we want us some Soundgarden.