It has been a tough month for music lovers.
The quick and sudden loss of a string of music stars, from The Easybeats’ Stevie Wright and Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister to the preternatural David Bowie, reminded us that twilight has fallen on the icons of the ‘60s and ‘70s.
On Monday the succession continued with news that Eagles guitarist and co-frontman Glenn Frey had died in New York City aged 67.
He succumbed to a combination of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia.
The Eagles had fans around the world, with record sales in excess of 150 million, and the Hunter was no exception.
When Frey came to Newcastle’s Civic Theatre on February 28, 2013, in support of what would be his final studio record, After Hours, the show sold-out.
The album was a tribute to American standards, with Frey crooning Route 66 and The Look of Love alongside re-worked Eagles classics Peaceful Easy Feeling, Tequila Sunrise and a memorable encore of Take it to the Limit and Desperado.
Frey would return to the Hunter on March 17 last year with his Eagles comrades and perform to over 18,000 people at Hope Estate winery.
These Hunter performances had special significance for two homegrown songwriters.
Newcastle country rocker Morgan Evans, a lifelong Eagles fan, was the support act for Frey’s Civic Theatre show.
“I learnt to play guitar out of an Eagles songbook, for real,” Evans says.
“The first song I ever jammed on with my drummer mate, at age 13, was Take It Easy, for real.
“And 15 years later I got to open for Glenn Frey at my favourite venue in my home town, the Civic Theatre - it was unbelievable.
“I still remember the feeling of walking out on stage, plugging my guitar in and looking down at his setlist.
“It was a full house, 1500 people or so, I’d been introduced and the room was silent.
“It was a big moment for me but all I could think about was the list of songs at my feet and the fact that this bloke had written them all.
“The first song on the list was Peaceful Easy Feeling, it was the second song I ever learnt to play and a song I played at every bar gig I ever did.”
Three songs into his 45-minute set, Evans realised he was being watched by someone in the wings of the stage.
“I glanced over to the side of stage and saw Glenn watching my set,” he recalls.
“He stood there the whole time.
“After the show I walked over to him and introduced myself and thanked him for having me on the show.
“He replied with ‘Hey, I’m Glenn Frey, that was a really great show, thank you’.
“We didn’t hang for long, he had meet and greet commitments to fulfil before his own show, but I’ll never forget that.
“It was 'one of those nights'.
“He was softly spoken, polite, a true gentleman and in the little time we spent together it was easy to tell that the guy loved music.
“And the world sure loved his.”
Kurri Kurri folk singer Melody Pool might look back on her support slot with the Eagles at their Hope Estate show as a turning point.
Backed by her full live band, Pool played to nearly 20,000 people.
She did not meet Frey in person, but Eagles drummer Don Henley famously introduced himself and asked for a copy of her debut record, The Hurting Scene.
“I grew up listening to the Eagles, my dad [country singer Alby Pool] being a massive fan,” the songwriter says.
“I was beside myself with excitement when I heard I’d be supporting them last year.
“Amazingly I somehow got to stand side of stage while Joe Walsh was waiting to go on and Glenn and Don were playing Witchy Woman - fitting for me.
“It was a surreal experience and an absolute privilege to have witnessed that, and an amazing moment for my dad to see his daughter supporting one of his favourite bands.”