Friday, April 20, 2012

Not Sports: A Van Halen concert review

Van Halen/Courtesy: Me
Yes, we are well aware that this is a Sports Blog and this isn't necessarily a sports story, but we are guessing that a good portion of you like your music in some form or another.

Last night, The Lovely Bride and I got to see one of favorite music groups from our childhood in concert: Van Halen. And though they certainly looked a lot older and Michael Anthony wasn't there, they sure sounded a lot like they used to.

For those of you unaware, the original lead singer, David Lee Roth is back. And in bits and pieces sounds like his old self. But an older Roth seems to finally have come to grips with the fact that people come to see Eddie Van Halen more so than him and he's seemingly okay with that.

And while Roth, who is in his mid-50's showed flashes of his old self, he at times was also totally lost. He seemed to forget a few of the lyrics...but it really wasn't much of an issue. He had fun, he entertained, and he was well aware that he didn't have all the lyrics down and can't hit the high notes he used to.

By telling you that the old "VH" was one of our favorite groups...and continued to be with whomever sang for them (except that guy from Extreme or Erasure or whatever that group was), we are admitting that we aren't as young as we used to be. TLB and I, well, I guess you can call us somewhat aging hipsters.

We knew we were old when at dinner before the concert, when we mentioned to our waitress we were going to the concert, she responded "Oh...I think my Aunt and Uncle are driving up for that show".

Me and TLB
Thanks. That comment just affected your tip.

But seriously.

It was almost surreal to see the opening act for the show, Kool and the Gang.

Yes, that Kool and the Gang. And with the original cast.

And quite honestly, they weren't bad for what they did. The worked hard. They sold what they were doing. They warmed up the crowd for the headliner. And they were moderately entertaining for the roughly half-full house.

And yes, they really made us feel old.

It was amazing how fast the arena filled up when Van Halen got going. And boy did they get going.

From the opening "Unchained" through "Everybody Wants Some", we never sat down.

However, we, and most of the rest of the arena did sit down when they started playing cuts from their new album, A Different Kind of Truth.

Now mind you, the new stuff isn't bad. It sounds exactly like you would think a Van Halen album in 2012 would sound like. Except at least 2/3rds of the roughly 15,000 in the arena weren't familiar with it.

But that didn't matter.

Eddie Van Halen/Courtesy: Me
Eddie Van Halen hasn't lost his touch. At all. And really, for those of us who were familiar with the group from the start, he's why you come see the band play. He is every bit as good...if not better than he ever was. Seriously, the guy did an 8-minute solo that produced sounds from his guitar you would never imagine a guitar making.

Words cannot describe this.

Alex Van Halen is still Alex Van Halen. The quiet one. His schtick hasn't changed either. His drums drive the group. They always have. And they did last night.

And then their is the new bassist, Eddie's son Wolfgang. No, he isn't Michael Anthony, but the kid is pretty damn good. He's much more subdued than Anthony, basically just playing, moving from the drum set to the stage and doing a pretty good background vocal with his dad.

All-in-all, we had an absolute blast. About a 2-hour show with little rest. My voice is struggling this morning and my ears have a bit of a ring to them, but that's okay. If you are in your 30's or 40's, there is a good chance you are familiar with Van Halen. If you are, get a ticket. It's a bit of nostalgia, its a bit of going back to your childhood. No, it isn't perfect. But for pure entertainment, its an absolute blast.

Go. See. Enjoy. And don't judge.

I didn't shoot this (can't get my video to upload), but here is the opener from last night: (thks YouTube)

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