Before I begin this tale, I want to stress that as you read it, you remember I HAD A GREAT TIME. I would do it again.
For the first time in 28 years, Van Halen is touring in support of a new album, with David Lee Roth. They started the tour in Louisville, KY and thanks to my pal Alan Koenig, I got to go.
Seats were the best I have ever had a Van Halen concert. Row 12. Center. We stayed longer at the bar, because none of us was in a hurry to see the opening act, Kool & The Gang. HOWEVER….when we arrived, they were just starting CELEBRATE, and I have to admit, I was getting into the groove. And the rest of the crowd was really into them.
And then the familiar guitar of YOU REALLY GOT ME started, the lights went off, and the place…..erupted.
Eddie sober is a better Eddie. Eddie was the best I have heard him live in a long time. Interesting to note….he was WIRELESS for the first time. I suspect it was his son, Wolfgang, that told him how lame cables are.
Eddie was ON FIRE. As was Alex. Even Wolfgang on bass was great. You could see the pride on Eddie’s face every time he and Wolfgang met each other on the stage.And let’s talk about Wolfgang Van Halen. As expected, the kid has become very much part of the band, and has the skills to prove it. And he even holds the harmonies. Harmonies are essential to the classic Van Halen sound. He was fantastic and look forward to seeing and hearing more from him.
All in all, they played a phenomenal setlist. All in all, it was a great show. Except for one thing. One big thing.
David Lee Roth annoyed the piss out of me. For the first time ever. He has never been the best singer. But in the past he was never horrid. And in the past he was the premier rock n roll front man. And that was a HUGE part of why I loved Van Halen. Seeing Dave be Dave. Watching him on MTV. DAVE TV.! Watching his live performances. He was entertaining and funny. Last night, he was was only missing the white face paint, and he acted like a mime. He was all vaudeville schtick. He was jerky. He needed a bamboo cane and top hat to complete the effect. He talked lyrics that are now out of his vocal range. He strained to hit the notes that he thought were in his vocal range.
During “I’LL WAIT”, he forgot the words…..and the band kept playing. When he realized, he screamed “ I FORGOT THE LYRICS….FOLLOW ME TO THE CHORUS” and then proceeded to walk across the stage.
He was off the beat on a song. He repeated lyrics in one song. During some moments, he was actually ignored by the band…as he bantered and they continued to play.
Look ,I know this is Dave. I know he used to forget words. I know he is more shine than substance. But something about last night just rubbed me the wrong way. Last night he ruined my memories of him and the songs I grew up to. I hope it just amounts to it being the first show of the tour. But it was hard to watch him for much of the night.
And by the way, HEY VAN HALEN…you could not play JUMP on this tour and no one would care! YOU HAVE BETTER SONGS…and it definitely not ENCORE worthy.
In the end, I have to come to grips with the fact that my favorite band is 30 years older than I remember them. I just wish it wasnt so hard to watch. The Van Halen Clan was AWESOME last night. Dave needs to head back to the carnival or stop doing a bad impersonation of himself from 1982.
The Setlist 2/18/2012
You Really Got Me
Running With The Devil
She’s The Woman
Everybody Wants Some
Somebody Get Me Doctor
The Trouble With Never
Dance The Night Away
Hot For Teacher
Women In Love
Ice Cream Man
Ain’t Talkin Bout Love