Van Halen, Kool & The Gang American Airlines Center Wednesday, June 20
You have to hand it to Diamond Dave. Sure, he can't hit all those high notes like back in the day, but he gave it the good fight. Often talking more than singing, David Lee Roth was still one of the most engaging showmen in rock. Helped along immeasurably by the backing vocals of Eddie Van Halen and his bass-playing son, Wolfgang, Roth and his bandmates dutifully mined the first five Van Halen albums for the expected hits and a couple of deep cuts.
Beginning with "Unchained" and "Running with the Devil," Van Halen got the crowd on its feet and they stayed that way for most of the show. Before "Everybody Wants Some," Roth told the crowd, "In 1982, I was a sexy, naked motherfucker." But 30 years later, he really doesn't look that bad. Roth even threw in a couple of his patented high kicks during the appropriately timed "Somebody Get Me a Doctor."
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Was it a great show? Not really, but it was damn good. Even Alex Van Halen's drum solo didn't completely suck. And that Eddie Van Halen, he plays a mean fucking guitar.
Personal bias: David Lee Roth is the singer of Van Halen. Sammy Hagar was a shallow, tepid replacement. The albums with Hagar were rehearsals for retirement, callous attempts to gauge the interests of an aging fan base for a watered down product of utter dross.
Strangest sights: A young woman carrying around her newborn in the concourse and a teenager sporting a Dead Kennedys t-shirt hanging out by the merchandise table.
By the way: Openers Kool & the Gang were great. Solid funk/disco/R&B.