Van Halen in Salt Lake City, July 18th, 2015! Here’s a collection of fun photos of the fans at the show, some videos, and the local newspaper review. Enjoy!
Soundcheck was “Light Up The Sky,” “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Drop Dead Legs,” and “I’ll Wait.” It sounded incredible!
Everybody Wants Some!! (partial)
Eddie’s Solo (partial)
“Can you say Van Halen twice in 2 weeks?! I sure can!! Traveled many miles to hang with my big brother Miller and sooo happy to be here with him!!!! Bring On Van Halen!!!”
“The calm before the Van Halen storm.”
Review: Van Halen Still Living at a Pace That Thrills
Doug Fox from the VHND and The Daily Herald has written what some fans are calling the definitive review of Van Halen’s tour so far:
As it turns out, the rumors of Van Halen’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Was it only just several weeks ago that naysayers were populating what passes for the modern-day town square — Twitter, Facebook and the comments sections of popular rock websites — pronouncing all kinds of gloom and doom about Van Halen’s summer tour and offering dire predictions for the band’s immediate future?
And yet, there were the four members of the band — David Lee Roth and Eddie, Alex and Wolf Van Halen — on Saturday night before the naked steaming eyes of thousands of raucous fans at USANA Amphitheatre in West Valley City, owning the stage with the power and authority of a group that has not only been there and done that in a Hall of Fame career, but exhibits clear signs of rejuvenation.
Turns out there is still no party like a Van Halen party, and the band certainly threw a memorable one in its first Utah appearance with Roth at the helm since 1984.
After a couple up-and-down appearances on national television shows earlier this year and mixed reviews for the band’s new album, “Tokyo Dome Live in Concert,” the common cynic refrain included the following armchair analyses:
— There’s no real stage chemistry anymore between the band’s two dominant, and sometimes clashing, personalities, guitarist extraordinaire Eddie Van Halen and flamboyant frontman Roth.
— The backing vocals, a key part of the Van Halen sound, would never be adequately replicated without original bassist Michael Anthony, who was replaced in the lineup more than eight years ago by Eddie’s son, Wolf.
— Fans wouldn’t turn out to support the tour of a band that had canceled or postponed dates on each of its past two tours and was apparently running on fumes in 2015.
— Roth’s voice is shot and he can’t sing anymore.
As more and more of the above pre-tour declarations of doom were put to rest by what unfolded in person Saturday night, I couldn’t help but be reminded of that classic “Seinfeld” scene where Elaine good-naturedly shoots down Jerry’s incredulous questions regarding her newly revealed talent at sexual deception.
In response to the above defeatist assertions, one could easily imagine Elaine pointing to each one individually and saying, “Fake! … Fake! … Fake! … And mostly fake!”
Look, they may or may not be friends offstage, but there is an undeniable clear and present chemistry between Roth and Eddie Van Halen — and it was on display right from the beginning riff of opener “Light Up the Sky” when the pair spontaneously locked arms and twirled in a playful circle. The powerhouse opener hadn’t been played in these parts for 36 years, having served as the first song of the band’s very first concert in Utah (March 31, 1979, at Utah State University). The song obviously hasn’t lost anything in the translation during the intervening years, delivering a gut-punching tone for what was to come Saturday night.
There were plenty of other examples of Dave-Eddie camaraderie. In addition to abundant onstage interaction, at one point Dave even pulled up a chair and sat immediately in front of Eddie to watch him fire off the blazing guitar solo in “Ice Cream Man.” Later, Roth played part-matador, part-air conditioner as he playfully fanned Eddie off with his scarf after the incendiary guitar-only ending to “Little Guitars.”
As for the backing vocals, major props must be given to Wolf V.H. because he has certainly risen to the occasion in this regard. Most of the background vocals sounded just like you remember from the records — or at least as close as one should reasonably expect. From VH anthems like “Somebody Get Me a Doctor” and “Everybody Wants Some” to more obscure album tracks like “Women in Love,” the trademark backing vox came through beautifully.
Speaking of Wolf, he also deserves credit for putting together what has to be the most all-encompassing, well-rounded setlist of the Roth era that the band has ever toured behind. A near-perfect blend between hits, the expected standards and deep tracks that have either never or rarely been played live has helped satisfy the expectations of both the diehard and casual fan.
Of the deep tracks, “Drop Dead Legs,” “Feel Your Love Tonight” and “Dirty Movies” all translated perfectly to the stage. “In a Simple Rhyme,” however, was the only one to land a little short of the mark. Something about the first verse vocally didn’t quite work, but the song rebounded in the second half and finished strong. The short “Growth” add-on jam following the requisite pause at song’s end was a big kick, prompting Roth to exclaim, “Just like the record, baby!”