Van Halen Tour!

Van Halen made an appearance last night at the Concord Pavilion and it was the 3rd show on their 2015 tour. This is the third tour they’ve done since reuniting with original vocalist David Lee Roth 8 years ago. I took my son to the show,and the tickets were a birthday present that he had to patiently wait over 3 months to actually enjoy. The band’s current line-up is close to the original group – David Lee Roth on vocals, Eddie Van Halen on guitar, Alex Van Halen on drums and the newer guy – Wolfgang Van Halen on bass. That’s right, Eddie, his brother and his son are the current musicians. David Lee Roth is the odd man out, in oh so many ways with this band. I have a few comments regarding the show:
• Nice stage set-up, not too plain and not too much flash. I thought it was perfect for the band. It was interesting prior to when they took the stage since they had 3 or 4 guys out totally mopping down the stage floor. Even my son made the call on that – they were getting it very polished so DLR could “slide” around the stage with his dance moves.
• The band was playing very well, especially Eddie and Wolfgang. They even did a very nice job with all of their background harmonies. Eddie was pretty much flawless on guitar, he still has it even at his age. He seemed legitimately joyful to be up on stage playing, beaming throughout the entire show. He also looked like he was in much better health than during the 2012 tour, which is good to see. His guitar solo was amazing and he seemed genuinely touched by the crowd reaction afterwards. Interesting side note, Wolfgang right now is a doppelganger for a cousin of mine. If you told me that was my cousin up there playing with Van Halen, I couldn’t have disputed it just by looking at him.
• David Lee Roth is such a hot mess. He must be so frustrating to work with. While his vocal contribution is a unique part of Van Halen’s sound, he flirted with bringing down many songs throughout the evening. He did pull it together a little better for the final 25% of the show. Most of his banter was inane, he slowed down many of the songs and was killing momentum throughout the set. But I have to give Eddie credit for smiling throughout all of his shenanigans and replying to DLR’s stupid questions. DLR does have a lot of charisma, but the band right now is giving him a little too much leash. My son asked me towards the end of the show – “is he like this in real life or is it just an act?” I had to tell him, yes this is actually how DLR is all the time. His singing ability is pretty much shot, he doesn’t even try to fake it these days, he just kind of speak/sings or focuses on key works in lines. Right now, the band may be better off finding a DLR imitator like Journey did for Steve Perry and not have to deal with the rest of the package that DLR brings to the stage. I can definitely see why they experimented with other vocalists over the years. I’ve never been to a concert where I thought, “let me take over the vocals for this song because I’m sure I could do it better”. On the other hand, the riffs that Eddie wrote during the DLR era are timeless and unstoppable so you want to hear those songs.
• The 25 song set highlighted just how awesome this band was during the DLR era. Eddie wrote so many awesome guitar riffs. The band had a great set list, pulling some deep album cuts along with many of their most famous songs. They played two songs they’ve never performed live before, one which happens to be one of my favorite songs from the album 1984 – “Drop Dead Legs”. The other was “Dirty Movies”, a solid track from the album Fair Warning. They opened with “Light Up The Sky” which they haven’t played in 35 years. They also played “In A Simple Rhyme” which they haven’t broken out in 37 years. They are playing another show at Shoreline next week. If you like Van Halen at all, you should try to go check it out. This could be your last chance. You will be entertained.
• I’m highlighting a couple of the lesser known tracks from the Van Halen catalog that they played live for the first time this week.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *