A guitar in her hand and sex on her mind

ROCK

This isthe week the Eagles spread their hoary wings and swept us to a land that time forgot. First though, America pumped us up with something more turbulent.

To those with cloth for ears, Joan Osborne sounds like Alanis Morissette, Liz Phair, Tori Amos and assorted angsty femmes with guitars in their hands and sex on their minds. Certainly, there's lust and an element of the confessional to her lyrics - "When I play music, it turns me on," she has perhaps unwisely said - but Osborne's self-analysis is droll, not shrill, her stories just as frequently vignettes about others' lives, and her voice is a smoky Kentuckian husk, moving from Mavis Staples soul to the sepia yodel of Appalachian country.

She also unleashes a pyrotechnic swoop reminiscent of Les Voix Bulgares, and this kicked off her show at Milton Keynes Bowl. Those cadences herald "Pensacola", a gospel threnody that fitted her cod-choirboy outfit: leggings and a shapeless white tunic. She followed with the lewd "Right Hand Man" and it was to her credit that she communicated heat to a 60,000-strong crowd earlier dampened by a downpour. For this tale of a relentless sex session, Erik Della Penna's harmonica ground its hips against Joan's suitably hoarse vocal, her words - "Use me up / If you think you can" - an unsettling come-on. Joan, however, is no victim. "Right Hand Man" - unless, as some suggest, it's a masturbation trip - shows a woman as full of testosterone as her lover, and she kept belting it out even when headliners Bon Jovi arrived in their helicopter, sensitively circling the Bowl a time or two.

During "One Of Us", wrongly branded an evangelical tambourine-basher, the sun came out. Then, after a break to get close with the audience - "You in the black T-shirt ... You! You! You're sustaining me!" - she showed she's no stranger to subtlety with the suicide note "Crazy Baby", distant thunder echoing ominous drums. There were occasional bum notes but for the most part Joan, with her nose-ring and conscience (she's active in America's Pro-Choice lobby), proved herself an accomplished hillbilly philosopher.

Bon Jovi opened with a shiny brass band, interspersed their set with crowd-pleasing fireworks and turned the stage into a three-ring circus with backdrops of strong men and painted ladies, while Jon sported a Hawkeye- style outfit, open to the waist. Though the New Jersey hairdresser's son has lately become a thespian and each of the band has found domestic bliss, there was no lack of macho sonic thrust. Maintaining "ah'm jus' screamin' for lurve," Jon delivered the hallmark hits, from "Bad Medicine" to "Wanted Dead or Alive", plus a general rock repertoire. Squint during "Jumpin' Jack Flash", and you'd think it was the Stones. "You sound like you're from Paris or somethin'," he warned the crowd, though they were either singing deafeningly or, during tender, blue-collar ballads, crooning in each other's arms. Everyone got what they paid for - seamless pop-metal from the masters of stadium rock - and dudes not joining in must have felt like interlopers at a revivalist meeting.

More believers in music as a source of ecstatic experience, Kula Shaker did their best to make the Brixton Academy an ear-busting ashram on Monday. Prime mover is Crispian Mills, a heavy-lipped Brian Jones type who's the son of Hayley and grandson of Sir John. A mesh of Hammond organ, sitars and psychotropic wah-wah, Shaker are Sixties power-prog rock, a cross between Pink Floyd, Santana and Revolver-era Beatles. Mills and bassist Alonzo Bevin (a man "very much into astral projection") shared Hendrixy guitar, and they delivered "Grateful When You're Dead" (a slap in the face to Jerry Garcia) and "Tattva" with dissolute verve, then dedicated "Hush" to George Harrison. Very Zen, but Kula Shaker have still to prove they're more than copyists.

"We were on stage, and Don Felder looks at me and says, 'Only three more songs until I kick your ass, pal'. '' Glenn Frey, recounting The Eagles' last stand, at a 1980 benefit in Long Beach, California. After eight years together, the hippies who'd started out in patched jeans and turquoise were the richest band in the world, and blasted out of their minds on a surfeit of coke, booze, broads, ulcers and mutual hatred. They promised they'd reunite "when hell freezes over" but here they are: older, wiser, therapised and straight.

The most surprising moment was when the giant video screens clicked on at Huddersfield's Alfred McAlpine Stadium on Thursday because, though close up they look like Mount Rushmore, the Eagles still harmonise like boys. Lambasted for commercialising the country-rock of Gram Parsons and the Byrds, they nevertheless uniquely satirised the American Dream, in lyrics and in lifestyle.

Taking to a stage decked out in cardboard desert sierras, Glenn Frey announced, "Tonight we're gonna do ... uh ... anything we can remember"; there followed a 27-number set, including out-takes - like Don Henley's shimmering "Boys of Summer" - from solo adventures. It was the classics you thought you'd tired of that sounded best: "Hotel California", a Smokey Robinson- smooth "I Can't Tell You Why", "Already Gone" and Joe Walsh's R&B blaster "Rocky Mountain Way". Walsh's energy gave the band a final spurt when he joined in the mid-Seventies, and his raddled exuberance and humour is really what powers it live. "Everybody's so different / We haven't changed", he roared with irony on "Life's Been Good". And, though he's wrong, in a way he's right.

The Eagles: Wembley Stadium (0181 900 1234), tonight; then touring.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkClue: You'll either love them or you'll hate them
News
Howard Marks has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer, he has announced
people
News
newsIf you're India's Narendra Modi, it seems the answer is a pinstripe suit emblazoned with your own name
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

    £38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

    Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

    £35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

    Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

    £15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project