Van Halen hit the road on July 5th and shows no signs of slowing down! Saturday night Van Halen played on the hallowed grounds of Glen Helen Regional Park at the San Manuel Amphitheater. Thirty-two years ago Van Halen headlined the biggest hard rock and heavy metal show of that era, the famous US Festival, and unequivocally showed why they were the biggest and the best rock band in the world. Things were a little different tonight, but in many ways they were the same!
After the killer blues set that Kenny Wayne Sheppard ripped through, Van Halen took to the stage. Lights, cameras and Light Up the Sky! What a great way to open a set by playing a song that hasn’t been heard since 1980. Runnin’ With The Devil, Romeo Delight, and Everybody Wants Some followed, then came Drop Dead Legs. This song has never been played live and *wow*… the band did not disappoint!
As the years have passed so has some of the vocal ability of Diamond Dave, the aging yet flashy singer and front man extraordinaire, does tend to hit some sour notes from time to time but make no mistake, it’s still David Lee Roth… he is and always will be the party. He can control a crowd like nobody else, and he can still make every girl in the place blush! For Dave’s solo he came out with his harmonica and acoustic guitar in hand and told a great story about the famous brown M&M’s and their historic rider, before tearing into the classic blues inspired Ice Cream Man.
Hit after hit the Van Halens and Roth just kept rolling on. Feel Your Love Tonight, which hadn’t been played by Van Halen since the “Cherone” tour in 1998 sounded amazing. Alex Van Halen’s drum solo rolled around and he proved he can still hit that huge kit like he did in years past! He may be a little more gray, but the power has not left in any way, shape or form! Wolfgang Van Halen replaced Michael “Mad” Anthony for reasons unknown, for whatever the reason is, the fact remains that he is the bassist for Van Halen. I personally believe that if he didn’t join the band, the great Eddie Van Halen might not even be playing music, or worse, might not even be around. Wolfie brings a youthful yet aggressive feeling to the band that hasn’t been present in a long time. The kid can flat freaking play and he can provide, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the much needed background vocals that are no longer on display by Anthony.
More hits from the night included Dance the Night Away, Beautiful Girls, Women in Love… and Hot For Teacher. Halfway through this blistering set, Van Halen pulled out the stop of all stops with In A Simple Rhyme and Dirty Movies. Having never played those songs live, Van Halen seemed to play them as if they have been doing them for over 30 years!
Edward Van Halen is and always will be “King Edward.” He is responsible for creating a genre of music and a style of guitar-playing that is still being imitated to this day. From his finger-tapping, hammer-on’s and pull-off’s, this style has become synonymous with Eddie Van Halen. Looking a bit older and with gray hair, sober, and with his son at his side, it was his time to shine. His nine minute solo, which includes parts of Cathedral and most notably Eruption, is as good as it has ever been. A lot people call a guitar solo a bathroom break or beer run, but when Eddie Van Halen is doing it, it’s considered church. The night was capped off with the big hits Unchained, Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love, You Really Got Me, Panama and Jump. All in all it was a great night of classic Van Halen hard rock! Who knows what the future will hold for this tumultuous band? Maybe one day everybody will get along for one last big tour featuring all members past and present, and it could be titled Best of Both Worlds. Just remember, nobody ever thought Dave and Ed would share the same stage again!!
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Light Up the Sky
Runnin’ With the Devil
Everybody Wants Some!!
Drop Dead Legs
Feel Your Love Tonight
Somebody Get Me a Doctor
She’s the Woman
Dance the Night Away
Women in Love
Hot for Teacher
In a Simple Rhyme
Ice Cream Man
Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
You Really Got Me