'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
THE EAGLES ARE (NOT) APPEARING IN LITCHFIELD COUNTY
A couple of weeks ago I drove by a big sign on the side of the highway that said: “2 BIG SHOWS, HARWINTON FAIRGROUNDS, SATURDAY, JULY 11TH (something-something) NEIL DIAMOND (something-something) THE EAGLES.”
Wow, I thought, Neil Diamond and the Eagles are going to do a concert in Harwinton? What a surprise. But I guess it’s possible. A lot of big name performers often book outdoor concerts in the summer, at state fairs and amusement parks and other rural venues. So I suppose the legendary singer and the legendary rock band might have teamed up to do a summer tour together, and one of their stops happens to be in little ol’ Harwinton. Pretty impressive for these parts.
I’m not a real big fan of Neil Diamond, but his “Sweet Caroline” has become a boisterous sing-along tradition during the 8th inning of Red Sox games at Fenway Park, so maybe I’ll learn to appreciate his other music at a live concert. No convincing is needed, however, for the Eagles. I’ve been a big fan since the early ‘70s. “Desperado,” “Tequila Sunrise,” “Hotel California,” and dozens of other hits should make that portion of the concert a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“Hey hon,” I said when I got home, “You’ll never guess who’s doing a concert next month right here in Litchfield County. Neil Diamond and the Eagles! Can you believe it?”
“No,” my wife replied matter-of-factly.
“But it’s true,” I said. “I saw it on a big sign along Route 4.”
“What did the sign say?” she asked.
So I told her: “2 BIG SHOWS, HARWINTON FAIRGROUNDS, SATURDAY, JULY 11TH (something-something) NEIL DIAMOND (something-something) THE EAGLES.”
“Um, dear,” she said, “do you know what the ‘something-something’ actually said?”
“I couldn’t quite see it,” I replied. “The print was really small. It probably is the time the show starts or the ticket price or whatever.”
“It said, ‘Tribute to.’”
“‘Tribute to’? What does that mean?” I asked.
“It means ‘tribute to,’ as in, someone who sort of sounds like Neil Diamond will be singing Neil Diamond songs, then guys who sort of sound like the Eagles will be playing Eagles songs,” she explained.
Oh. That’s slightly different now, innit?
For a while I was upset, but then I ran into an old friend who is a music aficionado. I started to complain about the sign’s fine print, and that Neil Diamond and the Eagles actually won’t be in Harwinton, and he interrupted me by exclaiming, “Right! And that’s why the show will be awesome!”
Then he explained why he was so excited. “First, the tickets are 1/10th the price. So you save a couple hundred bucks right there. Next, you’ll be about 300 yards closer to the stage than if you saw the real Eagles at Giants Stadium. Most importantly, the music will sound much more like Neil Diamond and the Eagles than if you saw the real Neil Diamond and the Eagles.”
“Wait a minute,” I said. “How can that be?”
“Easy,” he replied. “The real Neil Diamond and Eagles are old, and their voices are shot. These tribute bands have younger musicians who recreate the songs exactly as you remember them. You’re gonna love it!”
Hmm, maybe I’ll pick up a couple of tickets and catch the show. It sounds like it could be a (something-something) experience after all.
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