Heres the full recap of Van Halen’s first California show this year. Pretty much everyone who have been watching videos of all three shows so far are saying that this show the best one yet! A packed house, and the band absolutely killed!! Videos, pictures, and the local review featured below.
Review by Tony Hicks at MercuryNews.com:
Toward the end of Thursday night’s Van Halen show at the Concord Pavilion, with the rest of his band offstage, guitarist Edward Van Halen began his guitar solo. For nearly 40 years, this moment has been the high point of a Van Halen concert.
Just when he started the “Little Guitars” portion, a spotlight from the top of the venue lit him up, highlighting a sudden mini-downpour of rain. In California. In July.
Can an Edward Van Halen guitar solo make it rain?
Probably not, but it was about as likely as anything else in the storied band’s two-hour set. The rain was a strangely wonderful coincidence of timing during what was a surprisingly strong showing by a band some say is on its last legs.
The three original Van Halen members are eligible for Social Security (or at least very close to it). In a recent Billboard interview, Edward ripped former bandmate Michael Anthony and took several shots at singer David Lee Roth, with whom he has to share a stage all summer. The band’s new live album “Tokyo Dome Live in Concert” hasn’t been received well, with most of the complaints aimed at Roth’s vocals.
Yet there they were Thursday, power-gliding through an evening rich with deep cuts from Van Halen’s first six records that even some die-hard fans likely can’t recall hearing live.
There’s a couple of ways to enjoy a Van Halen show in 2015. One is to remember how bad things got a little more than a decade ago, when Edward’s substance abuse got so serious his performances became embarrassing. Now clean, seemingly happy and healthy, the guitarist again makes it look easy.
The other key thing is to remember that Roth is Roth. He was never the greatest singer live and, even during the glory days of the early 1980s, favored showmanship over tight musical performance.
But everyone was on top of their game Thursday. Opening with the powerhouse “Light Up the Sky,” the band charged into “Runnin’ with the Devil” and “Romeo Delight.” On the latter, Roth — once a wild gymnast on stage, now more of a quick-shuffling Vaudevillian performer — initially stuck to the original vocal lines, something he rarely does for an entire song. The rendition was surprisingly big and tight.
“That’s right, baby,” Roth snickered at someone in the crowd. “I’m gonna pretend I’m loaded and you’re gonna pretend you’re Bill Cosby.”
Yep. Dave is still Dave.
If Roth and Van Halen are an old couple only staying together for the kids, they fake it well. At 60 and held up by an artificial hip, Edward doesn’t move around much anymore, but he plays as well as ever. The band brought back “Drop Dead Legs,” a methodical, semi-sexy strip romp, with Edward and son Wolfgang Van Halen’s backing vocals spot on. Former bassist Anthony’s superb backing vocals on the old stuff is sorely missed, especially during “Feel Your Love Tonight,” but Wolfgang’s vocals were passable.
A brief toe-dip into more recent material kept pace, with “She’s the Woman,” and a blazing “Chinatown” (“If you go to China, is there an America Town?” Roth wondered). A few songs and one drum solo later, the band reached deep into the catalog for the seldom-heard crowd favorites “Women in Love,” and an absolutely epic “In a Simple Rhyme,” for which Roth showed due respect by staying on-point and even pushing his voice. He kept it up during the challenging “Dirty Movies.” Roth knew how to play to his strengths, especially while getting bluesy with harmonica and acoustic guitar during “Ice Cream Man.”
From there it was a downhill rush of classics, sandwiched around the guitar solo: “Unchained” (during which Roth purred something about “Fifty Shades of Dave”) “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” “You Really Got Me,” “Panama” and “Jump.” There was no encore, as if the band didn’t want to risk blemishing such a surprisingly strong showing. Whether Roth and Van Halen’s fragile partnership can hold, or whether the Bay Area will see another Van Halen show like it is anyone’s guess. But all was well again — at least for one night. They’ll try again July 16 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View.
Watch the first three songs in the video above!
“Crowd was insane tonight. You guys were amazing. Thank you.” – Wolf