It came as a bit of a surprise to notice that, while checking our stats on the evening of October 6th, that this little blog of mine — still going strong for 17 years on the web and counting — has reached a milestone goal of 6,000 posts published! I wanted to wait until today to celebrate, so as to not steal the thunder of the tragic passing of the great Edward Van Halen, who shall be missed on this earthly plane, but whose musical legacy is immortal. Thanks for reading!
Sometimes, life will surprise you. Van Halen is currently on an extensive US tour with original and wildly iconic front man David Lee Roth back on vocals and Eddie’s son Wolfgang on Bass. As an aside, I’ve attended maybe half a dozen David Lee Roth solo shows in the past decade – thanks to a friend of mine having been employed as DLR’s long-time drummer prior to him joining Korn. Dave was always in top form: leaping in the air and roundhouse kicking invisible foes all while hitting those illusive high notes, including the signature, primal yelps he practically trademarked. Because of Roth’s self-evident skill, I easily convinced myself that seeing the DLR Band cover Van Halen songs was essentially the same as seeing Van Halen live. Yes, I just typed that.
Fast forward a couple of years. When I got tickets to the first of Van Halen’s two sold-out shows at NYC’s Madison Square Garden, I seriously wasn’t expecting much. Certainly, I was not considering the possibility of there being any real “wow” factor involved, as I am rock and roll curmudgeon who basically thinks sentimentality is for shit when it comes to a legendary band reuniting with “most of its original members” and blah blah blah. Plus, did you read any of Sammy Hagar’s Heavy-on-the-Eddie-Van-Halen-bashing biography? Yeesh, what hot mess he makes Eddie out to be. And yet, I agreed to get on board for the show, along with a couple of friends, if only for nostalgia’s sake and the promise of an excuse to leave my house on a weeknight. Plus, maybe they would do “Everybody Wants Some,” and that song is just insane.
Well, last night I had a true Come to Jesus moment when Van Halen took the stage for a nearly 2 hour aural assault and reminded me why they are the legends that they are, and why DLR is phoning it in without his on again off again band mates. Because without Eddie Van Halen’s incomparble guitar chops, without Alex the drummer god pounding out the heavy metal thunder and – most importantly – without the Van Halen family’s backing vocals and distinctive harmonies, Roth can’t possibly do a Van Halen song justice. Jesus god, what a great show.
If you weren’t inside Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night, this is what you missed.
You Really Got Me
Running with the Devil
She’s The Woman
Everybody Wants Some (!!)
Somebody Get Me A Doctor
Hear About It Later
Oh, Pretty Woman
The Trouble With Never
Dance The Night Away
Hot For Teacher
Women in Love
Girls Gone Bad
Ice Cream Man
Eruption (Guitar Solo)
Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love
Van Halen Tour Dates for 2012 are available at This Link. Get tickets while you can!
Black Oak Arkansas vocalist and charismatic frontman, James “Jim Dandy” Mangrum was born on this day, March 30th, in 1948! Surely it is no secret to anyone who saw BOA in their prime back in the ’70s that David Lee Roth used Mangrum as the boilerplate for his own crotch-grabbing, libidinous fronting of Van Halen. Go Jim Dandy, Go!
Mighty Mike is a YouTube user who isolates the instrumental tracks from one classic rock song and lays the vocals from another, equally iconic song on top. Here’s his truly remarkable mash up of John Lennon’s “Imagine” with David Lee Roth’s vocals from Van Halen’s “Jump” adding layers of depth you couldn’t have imagined. Nice work, Mike!