Finally! Some 23 years after the last chance I had, I got to see the real Van Halen (well, minus Michael Anthony). The important part is that Diamond David Lee Roth is back with the band. I refuse to acknowledge the Sammy Hagar era (or that other guy). Sammy was good by himself, but for some reason with VH they could only do crappy-sappy love songs. Anyhoo, I never got to see Van Halen back in their heyday with Dave. My parents wouldn’t let me go to big ol’ Oklahoma City at first, then I missed the 1984 tour for some forgotten reason. That was all rectified last night at The Ford Center in OKC.
After a rocky start and some annoying distractions, it was a great show. No, Dave isn’t the lion-maned sex machine he was at one time, and Eddie’s lost that impish look his eyes had in the old videos, but they’re still able to run and jump around the stage. Dave did all his kicks and martial arts moves and he still has his voice. Eddie Van Halen’s guitar solo was amazing, if a bit long. He does things with a guitar that just don’t seem natural. And he does them so fast! One of the highlights of the show was Alex Van Halen’s drum solo. I’ve seen Peter Criss, Eric Carr, Tommy Lee (upside down, no less), and various other drummers doing solos of various quality, but Alex Van Halen’s was the best. I swear the man had six arms.
Wolfgang Van Halen seemed … like a teenager. He was proficient. He just seemed unexcited about the whole thing. You know, the apathetic mood so many teens have. The kid’s on stage with one of the biggest tours of the decade and he acts like he’s shuffling through the halls of a high school.
The low point was the opening act. I don’t even know who it was. Somebody Marley … probably Bob Marley’s son. Reggae. As an opening act to Van Halen. Why not have Hanson open for Metallica? They may have been great at what they do, but … who cares? Fortunately, they only played for about 30 minutes.
Then there was the couple to my right. Beer goes in. More beer goes in. More beer goes in. Beer comes out. I didn’t care they were drinking. But in The Ford Center you’re practically sitting on each others’ laps and on the shoulders of the people in front of you. So every time these people needed another beer or a piss, everyone in the row had to stand up in a precarious pose to let them pass. It got pretty annoying.
Next to Kim was an obvious nerd trying to be hip. He’d slicked his hair up into a fauxhawk that was … not straight down the backside of his head. He plopped down, spread his legs, flipped open his cell phone for light and proceeded to roll himself a doobie. Then he was too nervous to light it up. He spent most of the show with his joint under the cuff of his shirt sleeve, his neck cranked around to watch the two drunk chicks behind him dancing and hugging on one another. Toward the end this guy got one of the girls to pose with him for one of the many pictures they were taking. We suspect he gave her the joint as payment for the picture.
Here’s a little something from YouTube to give you a taste of what it was like last night.