Dylan Jones: If you ask me

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The Independent Online

If you ask me we should all stop beating ourselves up about liking things we shouldn't. For many of my generation, the band that we loved to hate more than any other was the Eagles. When I was at art school in the late Seventies (when I would regularly frequent the 100 Club, the Roxy and the Vortex), admitting you liked the Eagles was tantamount to admitting that you not only knew nothing about music, but also that you probably harboured a secret desire to light joss sticks and cover yourself in patchouli oil. Worse, it hinted you may be slightly more interested in cruising down Ventura Highway in an open-top Mustang rather than slumming it at the back of some dirty nightclub above a pub on the outskirts of Basildon.

While I'm sure there are still some of you who would rather have lighted matches slipped slowly under your fingernails than admit to buying Their Greatest Hits, how many of you can honestly say you turn the volume down when "New Kid in Town" comes on the radio? And while the band's singing drummer Don Henley still has the ability to come out with the most asinine nonsense, as though he were still trying to get into the head of a 13-year-old ("A man with a briefcase can steal millions more than any man with a gun," is one of my favourites), they still have their grip on the hair-trigger of collective consciousness.

Now, normally I'm not a big fan of nostalgia: it sounds like neuralgia and it gives me a headache. But last week I saw the Eagles in concert (which these days, if you live in London, means going to the O2, the tent in Kent), and, although to a man they all looked as though they'd be perfectly happy doing your VAT return for you after the show, regardless of the fact they all looked like corporate cowboys in their Reservoir Dogs suits and ties, they still had the capacity to transport us all back to California in the mid Seventies. Yes, you have to ignore the portentous lyrics of the new material, and, of course, the hypocritical nature of Don Henley's solo material (the appalling audio-visual display during "Dirty Laundry" was so ill-conceived it used copies of Tatler as examples of the gutter press), but the transportation is faultless. It's official: not only is the O2 London's largest karaoke bar, it's also a Tardis.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

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