Monday, December 17, 2007

Van Halen

Last Friday the family made it out to see the Van Halen reunion with David Lee Roth in LA. Being a Friday afternoon traffic can always be tricky to deal with so Darian met me at my office and then we picked up Jacki from her office on the way to the show.

After scoring $7 parking we made it into the venue and met up with a friend of mine from Helio and his girlfriend. After some quick food in the concourse we headed in right at 7:30pm for the opening act, Ky-mani Marley.

Yes, one of the Marley kids. He played an ok set of reggae if that is your thing. It wasn't mine. A few reggae standards and a couple of what I suspect were originals and then his 30 minute set was over.

Between the set changes the VH crew launched two blimps that flew around the arena. The crew was flying them via remote controls throughout Staples center. This kept the crowd entertained. Shortly before 8:30pm VH hit the stage for a two hour set.

Right before the show we saw Jerry Cantrell, and William DuVall from Alice In Chains. Darian spotted John Mayer walking in front of us and then it turns out Steve Vai was sitting just a few rows in front of us. When Steve was looking for his seat he walked by our row and I was able to quickly say hi to him. And to think David Lee Roth's guitarist after VH didn't have seats any better than ours, although he did go down to the floor once the show was underway.

I've been asked by many people how was the show. The show was great, however I expected it to be great. DLR was a fantastic front man and not the awkward Vegas-like act mess he was when he did the tour with Sammy Hagar. Yes, he was over the top, flamboyant and grinning from ear to ear but that is exactly what I wanted to see.

This reunion featured Eddie's son, Wolfgang "Wolfie" Van Halen on bass. Darian immediately attached to him considering the two of them are both 16 years old. His vocals were great and he played bass well. You could tell he was a guitar player first. He held and attacked the bass like a guitarist and was able to nail the classic VH songs. He even enhanced some of the parts above what was on the original albums with some extended breaks and even some finger tapping.

This was the second of 4 sold out shows in the Los Angeles area and I don't think anyone left the venue disappointed. They played a great selection of hits and deep tracks. I hadn't seen Jacki have this much fun at a concert in years.

If you ever liked Van Halen then go see this tour. This is one not to be missed, and considering the personalities involved there is no telling how long this line up will continue.

As far as the music went the songs I was looking forward to hearing "Unchained", "Hot For Teacher". Although they didn't catch me like I was hoping, however hearing Dave say the line "Heard you missed us, we're back!" from "Hot For Teacher" was priceless. Some of the deeper tracks "Romeo Delight", "So This Is Love?", "I'm The One", "Little Guitars" proved to be the highlights of the night. The band also stretched out a few of the songs adding a line from The Who's "Magic Bus" and even using the "Smoke On The Water" riff at one point.

The only moment that didn't work was during "I'll Wait". It was as if the band couldn't hear the keyboard track on stage. The beginning of the song sounded like a narrow miss of a train wreck and the middle of the song also had some rough moments. I've heard some live versions of this song and it seems that this is a common problem with this song. Maybe rearranging without keyboards might be an option. Jump on the other hand sounded fine.

Van Halen
December 14, 2007
Staples Center
Los Angeles, CA

You Really Got Me
I'm the One
Runnin' with the Devil
Romeo Delight -> lyric from Magic Bus
Somebody Get Me A Doctor (w/ DLR on harmonica)
Beautiful Girls
Dance The Night Away
Atomic Punk
Everybody Wants Some!!
So This Is Love?
Mean Street
(Oh) Pretty Woman
Drum Solo
I'll Wait
And the Cradle Will Rock... -> Smoke On The Water riff
Hot For Teacher
Little Dreamer
Little Guitars
Jamie's Cryin'
(Dave telling story about growing up in Pasadena just down the freeway)
Ice Cream Man (w/ DLR on acoustic guitar)
Guitar Solo (w/ 316, Cathedral, Eruption, etc)
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love


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