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Published: 10/19/2010

The Eagles and Guided By Voices: Two bands reunite with drastically different results

The Blade's blog Culture Shock is a three-times-a-week riff by Pop Culture Editor Kirk Baird on pop culture news, events, and trends. The blog will appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, with the odd night or off-day posting if something is merited.

It's a big night Wednesday at the Huntington Center, as the year-old facility hosts its biggest concert yet: the Eagles.

The rock-country band with the California sound that blew up FM stations in the '70s became the biggest group in the land, before calling it quits in 1980 because, frankly, the band members simply couldn't get along — or, at least, didn't care to get along.

But by the early '90s, the Eagles successfully reunited with a live album and a massive tour that jacked up ticket priced to a then-unheard of $100-plus. The classic rock act has continued to be active since then, including an album of new material, "Long Road Out of Eden," in 2007.

Certainly, Eagles fans have been waiting for the band to swoop into Toledo; tickets were snatched up quickly, even the expensive ones at $173.

This previous weekend I saw another band that recently reunited after a nearly 15-year hiatus, Dayton's own Guided By Voices. The indie-rock/pop outfit is responsible for at least one of the most important indie albums of the 1990s, "Bee Thousand." Others would contend at least one more Guided By Voices record, "Alien Lanes," should also be included on any best-of-the-'90s list.

The band known to fans as GBV is more or less the product of lead singer and prolific songwriter Robert Pollard, who, since the mid-'80s, has recorded a thousand-plus songs for GBV and his solo and side projects. Pollard broke up what's now called the "classic line-up" of GBV in the mid-'90s for various reasons -- acrimony not being one of them. He kept GBV going through another stable of musicians until he broke up the band for good in 2004.

Then Matador Records called him and asked him to put the band back together again for a special 21st anniversary bash earlier this month in Las Vegas that featured other acts signed to the indie record label at one time or another. There was one hitch: Matador wanted the classic line-up of GBV, when the band first signed with the label in the '90s.

I'm not sure how Pollard did it, but he did, indeed, get the band back together, not only for the Las Vegas gig, but now for a mini-tour, which just dipped into southern and central Ohio for two shows. One was in Cincinnati (OK, technically, it just across the river in Newport, Ken., but that's kinda splitting hairs), the other in Columbus.

The first was the "homecoming" show and featured a lot of revved up GBV devotees. Being on the front line of "the pit," as my friend called it, with 30 or so drunk revelers jumping into the air and on each other was an experience I won't soon forget. Same goes for the show.

The next night, while not as crazy, was better musically; the band was tighter and the setlist was better, even though it was the same songs just performed in a different order.

The reason I bring this up is simply for comparison's sake at the risk of this blog veering dangerously close to a MasterCard "priceless" commercial.

On one hand, there's a well-known, much-beloved classic-rock band that has continued to sell out big arenas long after its members said the group was finished. On the other hand, you've got an indie-rock group with a cult-ish following that recently reunited to play clubs to audiences that number in the hundreds.

The set lists for both groups feature most of the hits and run about 2 and 1/2 hours.

And though the low-price ticket for the Eagles is $50, to really get the same close feeling, you'd have to spend the $173. Meanwhile the tickets to GBV tickets are approximately $30 for the tickets, which are all general admission.

One is a big touring production with a large crew and expensive equipment, while the other features house lights and a couple of roadies you expect are driving the band from gig to gig in a rented van or bus.

I'm not saying one is somehow better than the other, but it does make for an interesting comparison. Anyway, I'll be at the Eagles show, most likely tweeting it. My editor, Rod Lockwood, is handling the review.

I've never seen the Eagles, so I'm curious about the show, though I know what to expect before I walk into the arena. I guess years from now I can tell someone I saw the Eagles, which may or may not impress someone. As opposed to telling someone I saw Guided By Voices with the reply being a blank stare followed by a "Who?"

I'm working on a story about fears caused by films. A friend of mine, for instance, saw "Jaws" as a boy. I believe his parents took him to see the movie at a drive-in.

The movie terrified him. So much so, that to this day he won't go to an aquarium for fear of seeing sharks. He won't swim in the ocean, and gets freaked out swimming in lakes, and in swimming pools at night. He can't even watch sharks on TV.

That is true fear. Turns out there's an explanation behind all of it too. But of course, I'm saving that for the story. You can read it Sunday, Oct. 24, in The Blade.

So that gets me to today's blog topic ... the effect films can have on kids.

As many of you know, I have a young daughter, who turns 4 next month.

Like me, my daughter loves TV and movies. She would spend much of her day watching the TV if we let her. We don't. But on occasion we'll let her watch a movie. And like most kids, she loves Disney. I'm sure I did at her age, though I didn't have access to all the films that she does now, Disney vault be damned!

But even with G-rated Disney fare, I sometimes worry if I'm instilling in my daughter some emotional problem or crippling fear she'll have to deal with the rest of her life.

Watching "Bambi," will she be traumatized by death, a concept that she's not even really aware of right now?

Could "Pinocchio" scare her and/or make her think lying is going to cause gruesome deformities to her face?

These may sound like ridiculous concerns, but they're true fears expressed by children.

As part of my research for the fear in film story, I interviewed an expert in the psychological effects of media. She said that children up to the age of 5 have no concept of reality vs. fantasy. Children may say they know the difference, but they don't really understand what is real vs. what is imagination.

So explaining to my daughter that what she is seeing on TV isn't real isn't going to do the trick; however, I was told that just by sitting there with her, and answering her questions and easing her concerns and fears, I'm doing my job as a parent.

That's reassuring, I suppose. Still, I can't help but think about her watching Pixar's "Up" the first time earlier this year. She loved the movie, but she was beside herself when the characters were in peril, especially as they came close to falling from great heights. Could I be, somehow, creating a fear of heights?

It's weird to think that an Oscar-winning animated film could cause lasting issues, but I suppose it's possible.

I wonder if my friend's parents felt the same thing after they left the drive-in, as they looked at their son's traumatized face? Did they realize the kind of lifelong fear they just created?

Agree or disagree with a posting? Lemme know. Have a topic or suggestion? Lemme know that, too. Send an e-mail to kbaird@theblade.com or call 419-724-6734. Or even better and easier, rant on the message board.



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