Funny Business with Jane Wells

The Dixie Chicks, Eagles And That L.A. Traffic

The Dixie Chicks

I was lucky enough to get two tickets to the opening night of the new Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Who was playing? The Eagles AND The Dixie Chicks. Full disclosure: I got the tickets for free.

The Eagles

The theater is very nice. The stage is huge, the seats are comfortable, the multi-media experience is great. There are cupholders so that you can bring in food and drink. And, for the first time ever, a theater has been built which has enough stalls in the women's room to quickly accommodate a crowd at intermission. This, folks, is a revolutionary step forward. On the other hand, the place needs more concession stands.

Both bands were in top form. It really was two great concerts in one. I had a blast. Sort of.

Here’s why I don’t go out much. First, going anywhere in LA at night has gone from tedious to Dickensian. Second, too many fans act like they’re in their own homes and not in a public place.

Let me start with the first. I drove to the Nokia Theater downtown from Thousand Oaks. It’s a 45 mile drive. It took two hours. On a Thursday evening. When there were no accidents. Just too many people. I saw something I’d never seen before. You know those freeway signs which tell you how many minutes until you reach a certain location? On this trip I saw one saying, “Downtown, 100 minutes.” I have never seen the minute-wait get into the triple digits.

Now, for the second issue. Call me silly, but I go to concerts to enjoy the MUSIC. The Dixie Chicks hit the stage around 8:40 PM, and they were fantastic. But for the next 45 minutes, during more than half their entire set, people were still arriving, crawling all over everyone to take their seats. Natalie Maines finally said, “Only in Los Angeles do you spend $300 for a ticket and then arrive late.”

The couple in front of me arrived during the fifth song (mind you, people don’t wait for a song to end to start shuffling down the row to their seats…). After finally sitting down, they launched into a long conversation, ignoring the band. It was as if they were in a bar and this was open mike night.

After the Dixie Chicks came the Eagles. I still can’t believe how great it was. But in classic Los Angeles fashion, people started streaming out a half hour before the show ends: a half hour!  Why? TO BEAT THE TRAFFIC! You see, in LA, it’s all about beating the traffic. It’s why people leave during the sixth inning at Dodger Games, even back when those games were close (I can’t remember that far back).

Beating the traffic is seen as the ultimate achievement--as if the traffic in Los Angeles can ever be beaten! My question, why would you spend all that money to go to an event, only to spend less time at the event than you do in the car?

I figured I was probably never going to see the Eagles and the Dixie Chicks together again, so I had no intention of leaving. Good move. The Eagles gave two encores, and the very final song made staying especially worthwhile. Don Henley came out and stood under a single spotlight and put his heart into “Desperado.” That was worth the extra “100 minutes” to downtown.

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