CALGARY — With a heelball change, step to the left, and an upward scissor kick high into the air (not as high as it used to be, but still pretty bouncy) Diamond ‘twinkle toes’ Dave was back in all his syncopated glory.
When Van Halen hit the stage at the Saddledome last night with original front man David Lee Roth at the helm and a sober Eddie Van Halen wielding one of his signature EVH guitars, the sold-out crowd of primarily 40-somethings reacted with hysterical, unbridled glee.
Teens dragged along by their parents looked horrified, hit by this stark realization — at any moment, an army of mommies might spontaneously throw their bras onstage.
Beer was flowing from ‘Dome taps at the same pace Eddie’s hands were traversing his guitar neck — some where in between warp and light-speed — as middle-aged men gulped the suds down care-freely whilst reminiscing about cruising around in their first car, an old Mustang they used to have in their early twenties.
It was a party that included mullets, jean jackets and the faint hint of something slightly skunky that hit the air just as Clan Van Halen launched into a version of The Kinks’ classic You Really Got Me.
Then it was onto I’m the One, and Runnin’ With The Devil.
Roth arrived on stage his usually toothy self, donning a bright yellow Freddie Mercury/Louis IV style jacket with black leather pants.
Eddie was shirtless (super ripped) and equally jovial.
Freshly out of rehab, the guitar guru was on top of his game last night, proving easily that he is without a doubt one of the best, brightest, and skilled guitar players in the world.
Eddie’s son (with former wife, actress Valerie Bertinelli) Wolfgang Van Halen, has taken over for Michael Anthony on bass.
The 16-year-old shares his father’s famous musical talent on the strings — Eddie, who started his son on guitar and then moved him to the bass, has said the baby faced teen mastered the instrument in a matter of months.
The two elder Van Halens came under fire (when the decision was first made to include Wolfgang) from critics who believed the young guitar player was added, not because of talent, but due to pure nepotism.
Admittedly, the wee Van Halen did look a little out of place up there on stage with his dinosaur rocking dad and uncle Alex Van Halen on drums.
This a family act — the name is Van Halen for a reason — and I say bring all the kids out to play, stick a couple tambourines or bongos into the hands of Alex’s two sons and get them up there, too.
On the subject of famous pedigree, Ky-Mani Marley, son to reggae king Bob Marley, opened the show.
While the famous Rastafarian is primarily a hip-hop artist, last night he stuck to a healthy dose of reggae and cover tunes of his father’s work, a nice mellow opener to Van Halen.
When the rock icons reunited this year and announced the North American tour plans — fans were left wondering would it actually happen?
Could Eddie and Dave get along long enough to make it through a major tour?
Last night it appeared as those everything was rainbows and lollipops between the previously feuding band mates.
It seems Roth is back in the saddle — and thank god for that, because no one can scissor kick the air in a ridiculous outfit and red top hat like that of Diamond Dave.