Sammy Hagar’s Birthday Bash 2008
“Where the land ends and the party begins”…
Written by: Jeff & Beth
Welcome to the Van Halen News Desk’s HUGE “Cabo Wabo Birthday Bash” write-up, which features our review of the bash, as well as PHOTO galleries, VIDEOS of Sammy and Van Halen playing the bashes, and newly imported Cabo Wabo merchandise! Enjoy!
For those of you who were lucky enough to make it to Sammy Hagar’s Birthday Bash this year, you know the magic of Cabo and the excitement of the ”loudest party on earth.” And for those of you that have not had a chance to attend the event, we hope after reading this story, you are inspired enough to get your butt down there next year!
Every year since the club opened in 1990, Sammy Hagar has been hosting an annual Birthday Bash celebration at his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. In thistime, the celebration has grown to be the biggest and best Rock ‘n’ Roll Party on the planet. It is customary for Sammy’s good friend, Michael Anthony, along with other special celebrity guests, to join him on stage. Previous years guests included Eddie & Alex Van Halen, Chad Smith, Ted Nudgent, Jerry Cantrell, Billy Duffy, Smash Mouth, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Sebastian Bach, Brett Michaels, Kid Rock, Iggy Pop, Tommy Lee, Jimmy Buffet and Vince Neil, to name a few. This year, for Sammy’s 61st Birthday Bash, guests included Michael Anthony, Vinnie Paul, and chef, restaurateur, television personality, Emeril Lagasee, who kicked ass on the drums!
Each year, a couple thousand very fun people escape the United States and journey South of the border to invade the town of Cabo San Lucas and take part in this amazing event. Sammy usually plays 5 or 6 concerts, all for free, over the course of about 10 days of nonstop fun, friendship, drinking, and of course lots and lots of Sammy Hagar, Montrose and Van Halen tunes.
The night before each concert, hundreds of people form a line and camp out in the streets outside of the Cantina. The lines are for the wristbands that will be handed out the next morning, on the day of the show. The wristbands are free, but are given out on a first come, first served basis. At times the line goes around the block. These infamous lines have actually become an event themselves, and they happen to be one of the main attractions for many people. Fans bring blow up mattresses, coolers of Mexican beer & Cabo Wabo Tequila, pillows, blankets, and a fun party attitude. We have even heard of a fan or two that won wristbands during a fundraiser event that chose to camp out in line anyway because they “didn’t want to miss the fun partying with my friends in line!” The line is a great place to meet people. So, if you want to go next year, but you can’t find anyone to travel to Cabo with you, no worries – just come alone and you’ll make some wonderful new friends, guaranteed!
If you are not up for camping in the streets, there is another option for wristbands for the shows. For each concert there is a limited number of “dinner tickets” sold which includes dinner at the Cabo Wabo Cantina (which by the way is some of the best food you will find in town) and a wristband for the show. With early dinner tickets, you also get inside the club before everyone else, allowing you to stand right in front of the stage, or sit at any table of your choice. The cost of these tickets are $60.00 per person and are also sold on a first come, first served basis but the demand is much less and the line is much shorter.
One of the greatest aspects to this party are the people that you will meet. Sammy’s fans, the “Redheads,” are some of the greatest people you can ever know. They have been described as a “motley bunch,” meaning they come from different age groups, ethnic, cultural, and social backgrounds – just one big melting pot. Although there is great diversity among this fan base, the fact remains that they all share a common bond - the love of music, the beach party lifestyle, and of course Sammy Hagar. That common bond is enough to create the strongest and best friendships one could imagine.
The generosity of Sammy fans is enormous. Each year as part of the celebration, the fans participate in an annual fundraiser to benefit the local children of Cabo. This foundation has been named Amigos de los Niños. Some of the ways the Redheads help out is by bringing clothing donations from home and participating in several fun events to raise money during the birthday celebration. These events include silent auctions and raffles of Sammy Hagar and Van Halen collectibles, Redhead beach parties, and booze cruises. What could be better than to party for a good cause? This year the Redheads raised over $25,000 for this charity (Wow, that sounds like a lot of tequila shots)! Once the events are held and the clothing and donations are collected, the Redheads travel in person as a group to “the Barrio” to deliver their donations to the children and their families.
If you want to learn more about some of the biggest “die hard” fans, you can check out this link to view an amazing book that was made by “Cabo Christie” and presented to Sammy as a birthday gift at this years bash. This book includes personal photos and thoughts from many of the people who make it down to the Bash every year.
Also, here’s Scott’s book made for Sammy in 2007.
One highlight of this years Birthday Bash was participating in the filming of Sammy’s Long Road to Cabo, Part 2 and an “MTV quality” video of Sammy’s new song, “Fight For Your Right To Party”. Many fans were interviewed by the camera crew and cameras were present at most Birthday Bash events. There were even photographers filming with 3D cameras inside the cantina. It will be interesting to see which fans make it into the final DVD which should be released sometime in 2009.
Another highlight was the Club 1013 listening party at the Cantina. This party was a private party that was for the members of Sammy’s 1013 fan club. It was held inside the cantina on the afternoon of October 10th. 300 members preregistered for this private party. The members of Sammy’s band, the Wabos, hosted the event and were available for autographs and photos. Fans were given a private listening of Sammy’s yet to be released new album Cosmic Universal Fashion which will be released on 11/18/2008. Pre-orders at a big savings are available now at Van Halen Store. The new album is full of fun, kick ass, high energy hard rock, and it’s sure to be a future classic – a “must have” for all Sammy and Van Halen fans.
The concerts themselves, or parties as they more closely resemble, were absolutely killer! As always, no two shows were even remotely alike, as Sammy & friends mix the shit out of the setlist every night! Songs jammed range from Montrose classics, to old Red Rocker songs, to new Hagar songs, to various hard rock classics, to Van Halen songs from both the Sammy-era, and even the Dave-era! Every show was phenomenal and you can bet that at the end of each night there practically wasn’t a drop of tequila left in the bar!
If that isn’t enough to inspire you to get involved and get down to Cabo, then the town itself should. Cabo is one of the most magical places on earth. In addition to the Sammy-inspired activities and concerts, Cabo is filled with many fun and exciting attractions, including Lands End featuring the world famous arch, many Five Star Resorts, ATV rides, zip lines, swimming with dolphins, sunset & booze cruises, jet skis, bikini & drinking contests, and many other beach and water-fun activities. Not to mention great food and drinks ranging from the inexpensive street taco to fine upscale dining.
What is it really like to be in Cabo for the Bash? Well, you know how when you go to a concert in the USA, even if you don’t know many people there, you know that at the very least, everyone there shares something in common. It’s like everyone there is “kindred spirits” in a way, in that they all share an appreciation for the band that’s playing. Well, when you are in Cabo when Sammy is in town, it’s like that, times 100! Because, instead of the feeling of camaraderie being felt JUST at the concert, it’s felt all throughout the entire town! Everywhere you go for a whole week – every beach, every restaurant, every swimming pool, every cantina, you meet great people who all have something in common with you – an appreciation for Sammy Hagar and Van Halen. And everybody you meet wants to do nothing but have fun!
Like Sammy Says, “If you go there once, you will be there twice,” or in the case of most fans you’ll meet down there – 3 times, 5 times, or even a dozen times, or more! It’s very addictive. Even while you are down there, you will find yourself talking about and planning your next Cabo trip.
Thanks for all the years of fun, Sammy. See you again, soon.
And for those of you have never been there … hey, you only live ONCE! We truly hope to see you there next year, “face down in Cabo!”
Over 1,500 photos from the bash:
Gallery #1 (from Cabo Christie, 294 photos)
Videos featuring Van Halen and Sammy jamming at Cabo Wabo :
Van Halen doing “Dazed and Confused” April 21st, 1990 (opening night)!:
Van Halen – “Summer Nights” 4/21/90:
Bling Bling & Jorge (If you know them, you’ll love it):
Birthday Bash 2008 – “Cabo Wabo”:
Click the yellow shirt below to see all the officially licensed Cabo Wabo stuff for sale at Van Halen Store, such as t-shirts, hats, shotglasses, keychains, drinking accessories, posters, stickers, etc.: