Posted on 5/1/2012
It was Friday, April 27th, 2012 when the long awaited return of Van Halen landed in the Music City. Thousands of Van Halen fans were looking forward to this event and many of them asked us if Concert Blast were going to cover this event. Several of the fans in attandance even were emailing and texting us wanting to know where we were. Unfortuantely the Van Halen management did not approve us for concert review tickets (although their publicist tried). They did approve our photo pass, but our photographers didn’t want to take photos from the sound board (too hard to shoot over the crowd) for three songs and be escorted out the door… HOWEVER, our good friend Josh Jackson was there and surprised us with a written review. Enjoy the Review!
Written by Josh Jackson
As the band came out onto the simple, tiered stage with a HUGE high definition screen behind them I thought, “Wow, we are in for a great night!” ‘Unchained’ and ‘Runnin’ With The Devil’ could both be closers as far as I am concerned. I was immediately hooked – Dave was being his goofy self (and he was already dodging a lot of the high notes and intricate phrasing) but the band was tight with the signature Eddie Van Halen licks flying. It quickly didn’t seem to be like there were going to be any major theatrics – it was all going to be about the music. And that made me happy.
They then segued into 2 new tunes with Women and Children First’s ‘Romeo Delight’ stuck in the middle. Everyone was polite, but were obviously content with the band sticking to the classics. The new album “A Different Kind Of Truth” is just okay to me. It’s a very classic Van Halen sound and I do like that, but the songs are just okay. I had heard that they played quite a bit of new material in the show and it was true, as they would play even more as the night progressed.
They then jumped into ‘Everybody Wants Some,’ ‘Somebody Get Me A Doctor’ and the new, double kick drum heavy ‘China Town.’ Dave’s meds must have kicked in around here, because he really got rowdy on ‘Doctor’ and the F-bombs were flying for the first time. They then went deep with ‘Hear About It Later’ from Fair Warning, and then the crowd was ready to sing along by the time they got to their classic re-make of ‘Oh, Pretty Woman.’
The obligatory rock and roll drum solo was next. They were flying in all kinds of percussion tracks, horns and salsa beats so that it was kind of hard to tell what Alex was playing, and what was on the track. As far as drum solos go, it was pretty underwhelming. That said, I thought the drumming during the songs was excellent.
He’s still a great time keeper and all the signature punches, crashes & splashes were in place.
The rest of the band joined afterward for ‘You Really Got Me’ (Dave again singing well under the melody and dodging all the hard notes) and another new song “The Trouble With Never.” They then ripped into a string of classics that really got everyone moving and singing along. ‘Dance The Night Away,’ ‘I’ll Wait,’ & ‘Hot For Teacher’ (which for me was a highlight of the evening – such a great performance.)
They then went back to Van Halen II for some classic stuff with ‘Women In Love,’ ‘Outta Love Again’ and ‘Beautiful Girls.’ The true fans in the audience were very appreciative that they went so deep on several picks!
Perhaps the oddest moment of the evening came next. While David Lee Roth plucked away on an acoustic guitar, a 5 min. video of him and his sheep & cow herding dogs played in the screens above. Dave even went as far to tell everyone about them, their training, and competitions. SOMEHOW, that segued into him playing ‘Ice Cream Man.’ Odd.
The rest of the evening moved like a freight train as they moved into the homestretch. During ‘Panama’ David Lee Roth yelled profusely (and multiple times) at the stagehands to come wipe down the stage which had become quite sweaty. It detracted some from the performance, but all eyes were on Eddie Van Halen next as he swept through his guitar solo complete with his classic game changer ‘Eruption.’ While his playing was not as emotional & expressive as I had seen him in the past, it is always great to see one of the greatest of all time lay it all out on the guitar.
‘Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love’ and perhaps their most popular hit ‘Jump’ ended the evening as confetti rained from the rafters.
All in all, it was a good show. David Lee Roth was his random & sometimes rambling self, and quite honestly didn’t impress me as much as he could have. I’m sure it would have been much better if only my mom would had let me go see them in 1984! The rhythm section of Alex Van Halen & Wolfgang Van Halen was super-tight, and for as much slack as he has gotten, I thought Wolfgang did just fine. He didn’t try to replace Michael Anthony, he just did his job playing bass & singing harmony. And Eddie Van Halen? Well, one of the best EVER… has still got it.