VH #1

pic-0087.jpgMy mother has always been a huge Boston fan. So, when they played at Carter Stadium on June 2, 1979, I got to go with my mother to see my favorite band. Boston is good, but this band that opened for them, Van Halen, was awesome. Van Halen II had just been released and “Dance The Night Away” was a new hit on the radio. We didn’t know anything about the band but it was apparent that “this Van guy is a total jerk…but his guitar player is good!”

10,346 days later, I finally got to see Van Halen again. This time it was in Greensboro for the highly anticipated reunion of David Lee Roth with the band, and it didn’t disappoint. There are many YouTube clips from the tour so far, and the good ones still don’t quite do the concert justice. Eddie Van Halen sounds as good as he ever has, and David Lee Roth was impressive. Eddie brought his 16 year-old son, Wolfgang, along to play bass, which ignited yet another controversy in the band’s history (longtime bassist Michael Anthony claims he found out about the tour and lineup change on the internet, even). Nevertheless, Wolfgang played all the notes correctly and did a good job of not distracting us from watching EVH, my favorite musician in history.

The playlist was exactly the same as it has been in other shows; 4-6 songs from each of the first six Van Halen albums. I was surprised to see how well received “Jamie’s Cryin'” was. Equally surprising was the silence from the crowd after “I’ll Wait”. Perhaps they were tired from the frenzy stirred after every single other song. I think I would rather have heard “Drop Dead Legs” instead. (Of course D.O.A. would have been more perfect, but who’s complaining?)

The sheer enormity of the event was overwhelming. There are so many story lines going with this tour. A not so exhaustive list includes: the impressive rapport between Roth and EVH, the father/son dynamics with EVH and Wolfgang, the potential “move over kid” moments with Wolfgang and Roth, the hook-shaped runway which trapped some lucky ticketholders inside the band at times, the Valerie Bertinelli angle on EVH/Wolfgang, the recent rehab situation with EVH, the trademarked giant equipment of EVH, the sheer presence and skill of EVH, the absurdly large drum kit of Alex Van Halen, the history of concerts in the Greensboro Coliseum, the INCREDIBLE seats that I happened to get for the nearly sold-out show through Ticketmaster just 10 days before the show, the importance of this music on my adolescence, the incredibly long time I waited to see this band, the unlikelihood that one gets to see their favorite band play only old stuff, and the presence of a former bandmate of mine there to see my guitar hero as well…to name a few.

Well, that does it. There are plenty of bands that I want to see, but none left to dream about. Bring on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Bring on The Bravery. They’ll be good but nothing will probably ever carry the weight that the reunited, fresh Van Halen did.

3 Responses to “VH #1”

  1. couldn’t agree more! saw the first show of the tour in charlotte and was BLOWN AWAY. I had waited my whole life to see them and the minute I heard EVH I was a kid again…rockin’ harder than I have rocked in years. the lasers and video screen blew any “rock” concert I have seen in years out of the water…all in all an amazing show!

  2. I missed the shows in Charlotte and Greensboro but I was there in Carter Stadium show in 1979. Anyone remember the cup fight between the field and the stands? Cups were flying everywhere. Anyone remember David Lee Roth saying……”someone just hit me with a cup, anyone know that was, throw him up on the stage so I can kick his MFing ass !!!!” or something lke that

  3. When DLR said that, TONS of cups started flying up at him. Hilarious.

    Watching those cups from upstairs was awesome. What a day.

    Someone threw a frisbee at Brad Delp (of Boston). He caught it and sent it right back into the crowd; didn’t flinch. Very cool guy who is already missed.