On a rainy January evening, I arrived at the Fox in downtown Atlanta to see the sold-out performance of JD & The Straight Shot and the legendary Don Henley. The Fox Theatre, also known as the Fabulous Fox, is a former movie palace that originally opened its doors in 1929. The cost of a ticket during that time was 60 cents for adults and 20 cents for children. Nowadays it's mostly used for music concerts, and the performing arts and the current cost of a ticket can go as high as a few thousand dollars. That's crazy money even by today's standards. But man, if you ever have a chance to go, don't pass on the experience because it's one of the most beautiful music venues on the East coast. The Fox's architecture and décor is a stunning blend of Egyptian and Islamic styles, showcasing a 4,678 seat auditorium that replicates an Arabian courtyard with a night sky embedded with crystal stars. It's truly a sight to behold.
There was a festive vibe in the air, a feeling of mass warmth and delight. Couples, friends, and onlookers made their way near the stage to either take pictures or get a better scope of the venue. At any moment the ushers will make everyone go back to their seats, but for now, it was time to mingle. Just above the stage, I noticed all these clock radios suspended in the air by strings. There must have been at least two dozen of them, and some appeared to be antiques. It all must have something to do with Henley's show, I'm sure.
The first band to kick off the evening was New York City's JD & The Straight Shot. The group is fronted by Jim Dolan, owner of the New York Knicks. Yes, you heard me correctly. The lead singer runs an NBA franchise. How cool is that? The band treated fans to songs off their upcoming new album, set to be released sometime in early 2017. In addition to some older classics such as "Ballyhoo" and "Better Find A Church," they also performed "Midnight Run," a song they had written for the 2012 Tom Hardy movie Lawless. I would describe their short 30-minute set a pleasant mixture of Americana and folk. Dolan would also tell stories about a particular song or explain the meaning behind it. It was a really nice way of connecting with the audience. He made you feel as though they were performing in your living room. It was a very intimate experience.
Right before Don Henley's set, the auditorium went completely dark except for a faint ray of light that highlighted the radio clocks, which now appeared to be hovering above the stage without strings. One after the other, each clock would broadcast a live sound bite from America's past to the present - snippets from media TV and famous speeches from the likes of Rev. Martin Luther King and Franklin D. Rosevelt. And somewhere near the end of the presentation Don Henley and company casually made their grand entrance.
Don Henley is the closest thing to The Eagles I'll ever get to see. In what ended up being a two-hour-plus set, Henley pleased the sold-out Fox Theatre crowd with hits from The Eagles and his solo career. Performing such classics as "Desperado," "Seven Bridges Road," "The Boys of Summer," "Dirty Laundry," “Sunset Grill,” "Life in the Fast Lane," and "Hotel California." They even covered Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." I would hear songs I've heard on the radio growing up as a kid that I never even realized were Henley's singles. The show really brought me back to those good old days when I was forced to listen to whatever my parents wanted to hear to on the radio. At the age of 69, Henley sounded great as he was surrounded with tight instrumentation, three-part female harmonies, and even including a step in and out horn section. It was a very engaging and most memorable performance, to say the least.