Concert Roundup: Van Halen at Izod Arena, NJ November 3

Saw Van Halen Saturday, November 3 in New Jersey. After seeing a bunch of the rehearsal footage I was very skeptical about the show being very good. I can honestly say I was very underwhelmed by Van Halen with David Lee Roth. Everyone has been saying for years how Dave is a “great performer” a “great entertainer.” Tonight David Lee Roth was neither, he was more like Ozzy Osbourne back in the Ultimate Sin era–old and rickety. Sure he did a couple of kicks, but he just walked slowly back and forth across the stage while Eddie ran circle around him-and Eddie has an artificial hip! He looked very uncomfortable and out of place.

The rest of the band was all very good, Eddie can still play a mean guitar, but he improvised some songs so much that they were unrecognizable. Wolfgang played all the parts as good as the record, and Alex was Alex. In order for Dave to sing some of the tunes they were done in different keys. The Fair Warning stuff, which is tuned to D flat on the album was done in E live. Eddie had a meltdown because his monitor was messed up. He spent 3-4 songs distracted and yelling at the monitor guy. He eventually pulled a Ginger Baker and threw the monitor off the stage at the sound man. (I saw Ginger Baker do this with BBM at the Marquee in London, only it was a 3 foot tall side fill, Eddie threw a wedge. Still very entertaining.)

Overall-good effort, good song selection, good musicallity, but they all looked like they were phoning it in. I bet they are still having problems and we won’t be seeing much of Van Halen after this tour. There were so many drunken fans at the show that loved it and saw nothing wrong or amiss. They might as well have been at home listening to their Van Halen albums and they wouldn’t have known any better. What would have made this concert great is Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony. They are loaded with energy, always having fun, something which is totally missing from the new old Van Halen.