A Review of David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen Rocking The Stage at a Private Friends and Family Show
Drop whatever you are doing and get tickets to the 2012 Van Halen concert tour.
Do so and you might as well “Jump.”
That’s because Van Halen rocks it, almost as they never left the stage. Several times during the show, and even more so afterward, you’re going to turn to friends and strangers and say just one word: “Wow. WOW!”
The legendary rock band has a five-month, 49-city tour in North America from February thru May and PubClub.com and the Bar Blogger were present as a special “friends and family” preview performance at the Forum in Los Angeles just prior to the first stop in Louisville. The were only a couple thousand people there for it, and as you can see from the photos we were right in front of the stage.
It was one of the few advance shows for the “A Different Kind of Truth,” tour, and it did feature a few songs off the new album, including one that’s already making traction with fans, “Tattoo.”
But it’s the band’s legendary songs that make the show sizzle, and if anyone is concerned that time has taken its toll on the members then set that fear aside, for some things remain completely unchanged.
Eddie Van Halen can flat-out play the guitar. The way Eli Manning can thread the needle to receivers in Super Bowls.
David Lee Roth, back for this tour and seeming to get along with Eddie as if they were brothers, may have stumbled a couple of words on occasion – even once admitting he forgot them – but his voice is Van Halen.
And that voice remains as solid as it did in the band’s heyday, and any doubts about this are wiped out when he blasts “Hot For Teacher.” It’s so true to the original you can shut your eyes and imagine you are watching the video with a hot blonde walking onto a platform in a blue bikini. Where, by the way, is a hot blonde walking onto a platform in a blue bikini?
It may take a few moments to actually recognize Roth. He doesn’t have the long, shaggy hair of the past. In fact, when he walked out on stage I actually thought he was Sting! “Cool,” I said, “Sting is introducing Van Halen.” But when he began to sing it was most definitely Roth.
Alex Van Halen never stops on the drums and while Michael Anthony is not on bass, Eddie’s son Wolfgang doesn’t miss a beat.
There are a few signs of age. The show isn’t flamboyant as in the past. Roth doesn’t jump up with outstretched legs in tight striped pants and the band doesn’t swing from a cable during “Panama.” But Eddie does the signature foot shuffle from the video days. And Roth dons all manner of eye-catching clothes. He also slides a lot; they actually put in a special floor for that after the warm-up band which, by the way, is Kool & The Gang (more on that later).
There’s no shortage of the classic songs in the show: “Running With The Devil,” Dance The Night Away” and “Ice Cream Man.” It’s all vintage Van Halen, yet its live and it’s today. And it still rocks. WOW!
As previously mentioned, the show opens with Kool & The Gang. That might seem a bit odd, a contrast of styles, but they are really good, too.
And that makes the entire night a reason to “Celebrate.”