Friday, May 25, 2012

Van Halen II

  So we get to the Denver Pepsi Center a tad late, missing a few minutes of Van Halen's opening act, Kool & The Gang who were abysmal, using keyboards as a bass guitar for the pop-funk they play.  Boo.  Some of the rocker-chick-soccer-moms were into it, mostly because they have no soul and are empty inside with lacerated wombs-gone-sour (tm) and so they danced fatly to it because musical integrity is something they can't understand. 

 People got to their seats (some were stealing others' and it got out-of-hand until security broke a lot of it up).  I sort of hate it when people go back for beers during the show, or have to illegally "light up" pot.  Really?  You need to be fracked-up to enjoy a concert?  Go listen to your iTunes at home while doped.  Jerks.  .. oh, unless you have brain cancer, but then really you should be RESTING, not HERE!  Sheesh.  Criminals.  I bet they voted for Oblivi-bama-geddon.
  Our seats were stage-Eddie about 20 feet up which was pretty darn close and a very good view.  The stage was cleared of extra keyboards and keyboards from Kool & the Fake's 20 minute painful rendition of Get Down On It complete with on-screen lyrics, just in case you don't know what the four words of the whole song might possibly be, the depth and symbolism etch the mind of Nostradamus in the heavens. 

  The EVH team came out and also meticulously cleaned the stage like Buddhist Ninjas, putting out "Diamond" David Lee Roth's apparently "required" dance square made of hardwood, then conditioned the wood meticulously again as if they're souls depended on it with Dave-required talc powder then hand-polished his mic stands with a fervor of insane passion and completeness (but apparently for naught).
  Eddie and his son Wolfgang (a bit pudgy but played well) as well as Alex Van Halen on drums, as a family trio, as well as David Lee Roth all of whom wore plain black.  All black.  Shoes, shirt, pants.  Black.  Stage was also plain black (except for David's required wooden dance square area, though taped-down.. in black).  Not a dire black, just a completely, and I mean completely understated, low-tone black, almost Nihilist.  No.. completely Nihilist.  Short-cut hair.  Dave's only flash: a white fluffy scarf (odd).
   They opened with Unchained which a pretty good starter and got good response from the audience and continued with applause of Runnin' With the Devil, She's the Woman, Romeo Delight, Tattoo and a nice intro to the film: Better Off Dead's, Everybody Wants Some!!
  Despite smiles of Eddie, you can see he's pained.  His floor kept being cleaned after each of the first few songs, and then he got cranky and then he wiped down the floor himself with a towel and threw it, calling-out the hired help nasty names with his typical upbeat and cruel way he does, "Those @#$^@ ruined YOUR show, guys!  If they could do the job right the FIRST !#$@% time, you wouldn't have WASTED 2 minutes of your LIFE!"  Huh.. to me it looks like they did do a fine job, Dave.  Maybe he just wanted to complain.
  They went on to play a rather good version of, China Town, as well as Somebody Get Me a Doctor, Hear About it Later, Oh, Pretty Woman, You Really Got Me, The Trouble with Never, Dance the Night Away, I'll Wait, And the Cradle Will Rock.., Hot for Teacher, Women In Love, and Beautiful Girls.  We're awarded a nice but simple drum solo from Alex as the rest take a break.
  Dave then changed clothes (now slightly flashier with a sequin jacket) and came out and played a short acoustic piece on classical guitar (interesting) and showed a video of some Border Collies and a field and went on to explain he was a professional dog trainer and bragged about it for a while for some reason, then bragged he had no bumper stickers on his three trucks (huh?)  This went on for 10 minutes.  This then led impossibly into one of my favorites, Ice Cream Man followed by the quintessential Panama, an improved Eruption by Eddie (though he just played 2 notes REALLY fast for about 3 minutes which I thought was a bit .. well, "blah"... but made up for it with some great swells in volume-knob play and an interesting tap-solo improv [Eddie, they make volume pedals btw, ask Alex Lifeson in the song Xanadu]). 
  Encore was Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love and Jump to finish it off.

  A few interesting tidbits was that Dave sort of acted threatening to Wolfgang, and the chemistry seemed pained.  They stopped the tour short, only doing a few more "required" shows before cancelling the whole tour for their album "to rest".  Luckily, Denver was not dropped-off the list.  I suspect they might not pick it back up again.  Even though Eddie divorced super-hot and super-understanding and nice Valerie Betinelli from One Day at a Time,

 it looks like he still misses her despite re-marrying Jane Liszewski (she's 20 years YOUNGER than Eddie) and therefore minimal in common despite their attempts.
  Eddie has two major issues going on right now and it shows:  "David Lee Roth and also David Lee Roth".  He deserves two mentions because he's THAT much of a problem.  Here's how:
  Of course, David insults his roadies, and some of the audience, and scowls at Wolfgang and Alex, then grins as if of COURSE he's in the right, and it's ALL ABOUT HIM.  He continuously looks at the big screen behind him to see himself and it's obvious he loves seeing himself bigger than life.  It's like their 30th show.  It's not like he hasn't seen this before on this tour.  He just loves it and brushes his hair back as he looks at himself on a 50-foot screen repeatedly.  He even mentions how awesome he looks a few times.  During Eddie's solos, he points to himself as the audience cheers Eddie on as if to ask, "You're cheering for ME, right?"  What?  No, we're cheering for Eddie's guitarsmanship, dolt!  He's SOLOING right now, and EXCELLENTLY!  Sheesh.  Dave'd often point to himself with his thumbs and demand applause from the audience.  Literally THE MOST self-centered person on Earth.  Infants are not as self-centered at birth.  God is not as self-centered.  If he went into a church, he'd grin and ask a person praying, "Are you praying to Me?"  Wow, but expected, as I've heard of this, but I didn't believe it could possibly be at that magnitude, and I thought it was all just over-exaggerated.   I had fun with it, laughing each time.  Such arrogance of a musician is legendary, and we may never see another at that level in my lifetime.  Caligula would be shamed.

(pick out David Lee Roth..  can you guess which one?)

  As a performance, it was as low-key as their outfits.  Dave performed a few almost-kicks with his very short hair (then gloated about it and watched himself in slow-motion instant-replay on the big screen behind him to see how awesome he was(n't).)  Some of the younger kids (there were a few under 30) commented that David Lee Roth sucked while we were leaving.  Interesting the Legend doesn't translate 40 years later.  I can't expect a lot from a 57 year old guy, but Rush puts on a much more interesting show as in the Clockwork Angels: Time Machine in Cleveland tour which depicts old rockers can still rock.  Well, all of Van Halen's clean livin' after all.. ahem.
  It was obvious there'd be no Sammy Hagar pieces such as Dreams or Right Now, but it would've been nice to show some grace and tact that maybe yes, some of that work is worth playing, but again, we're working with Dave, who is into himself forever and hates Sammy Hagar.
  Tone-wise, Eddie's guitar rig was muffled, but we were at 90 degrees to it so we were getting not the best sound from his EVH stacks (he had 5 full stacks).  Some of Eddie's work was a bit sloppy, as if he just wanted to get the last few tour dates over with, but he still put in a good, honest night's work.  Wolfgang's bass playing was very adequate and he was a gentleman about it, though he got no solo (everyone else did, Dave MADE his own solo, often ignoring the required lyrics to songs and just doing his own "zeebadda beee-bah" vocal-solo thing) Wolfgang and also Alex performed tightly and clean.  Dave would sometimes ignore cues and start suddenly talking about how many chicks he used to bang, including (and inappropriately) amputees, all during mid-song and it tripped the other players up and confused them and they tried to go along with it.  Well then.  Eddie's pedalboard was minimalistic.  He had his own MXR Phaser and overdrive pedal, but he never really added much by way of effects nor changed it up for each song.  Instead, he played the Everybody Wants Some / You Really Got Me tone the whole way through the set, making the songs blur blend into one giant long song with no distinction.  From a master guitarist, I expected.. JUST a little bit more variation, but David kept distracting him with comments he fake-smiled at.. more like.. grimaced at.

  As the set started winding down, Dave told Eddie to stop it with the wild solos and just "play it basic".  Dave started putting on more and more flashy clothes.  At the end, especially after the song Eruption, he wore a giant Klondike hat and waved a 30 foot checkered flag around while plumes of red and white confetti burst out of cannons, "Look at MEEEEEEEE!!!!" as he pointed to himself to take away from Eddie in any way that he could.
  A good show and a good set but the boys are tired and want to call it quits, and the energy of the '80s is LONG gone and Dave isn't cooperating too much.  I wonder what Gary Cherone is up to?

1 comment:

  1. I'm really glad that we got to see DAVID LEE ROTH and the Van Halens last night. He was AWESOME (I know because I kept seeing himself check himself out on the big screen), and his backing band wasn't so bad either. That guitarist might have a future somewhere down the line. Maybe one to keep an eye on, you know? ;)

    I had fun, Kool & the Gang aside, and am glad that we got to go and see that last night.

    One break, coooooooooooomin' uuuuuuuuuuup! (Zee-badda-bah!)