Van Halen - Verizon Center - 11/1/2007 $62
While not an officially sanctioned RC event, I ventured out to the Phone Booth last week to witness the much debated, long awaited reunion tour for the founding members of Van Halen - minus Michael Anthony (who is NOT married to J. Lo, as it turns out- my bad).
There is so much I could tell you about this show, it's almost overwhelming. I get lost in all the details of the night, so I will just hit some of the main points. Let's begin with the participants. So instead of the regulars, Jimbromski, Jumboslice, and sacklunch, I was joined by RC alternates, Stuttson and Duh-cut. It was actually Stuttson who masterminded this excursion. So kudos to him. But let's move on to our seats for the show.
You ever hear someone brag about being in the FRONT ROW Man! for some super show, but you know they're full of shit? Yeah, well we were in the last row of the phone booth for this one. Literally. So nice job, Stuttson. Glad you managed to score these red hot tix man. We were directly across the stage, so we were at least facing the right direction, but we were in row Q, which happens to be the last row in the joint. Which reminds me that there was some schlub at the show who must have purchased bogus tickets, because he came up the stairs looking for row Z. Beware people, there is no row Z at the top of the Verizon Center. It only goes to Q, trust me. But this was not all bad. Stuttson was good enough to play flight attendant (appropriate for our altitude, I thought) and treat us to tiny bottles of booze. It's easier to mix your cocktail when you're at the very top. I also didn't need to worry about being in anyone's way for those 3 or 4 songs where I was standing up. So what if I can't tell the difference between the mic stand and Eddie Van Halen (they're both rather thin, ya know)?
The crowd was a sight to behold. I forgot that I was in junior high school when Van Halen was big, which is why I never got to see them live before now. So there were some older folks there, which makes sense. Van Halen's got to be 200 years old, collectively. Their fan base hasn't changed much. It's only gotten older, fatter, and uglier. Yet they still dress the same. There were a few guys who looked a lot like that Dog the Bounty Hunter guy, and a few gals who looked like his lovely bride. Sort of. The crowd also consisted of a couple of younger fans who, like me, managed to find a relatively out of the way bathroom, but who took advantage of the handicap stall by having sex there, not like me. I was concerned at first that maybe the guy was taking advantage of the girl, and I almost took a picture over the wall to be sure everything was okay. But then I remembered that you go to jail for doing stuff like that. So I just eavesdropped a little until I heard her say something positive about the experience. Then I lingered around a little longer, in case I was needed. But I was missing Diamond Dave and the Van Halen Trio, so I went back to my seat.
It was great seeing this band. I can't believe that Sammy Hagar was ever allowed to carry the Van Halen name. Sure, they had a few hits with Hagar, but David Lee Roth is irreplaceable. His showmanship was on full display this 1st of November. Like a ringleader at the circus, Roth had a full supply of colorful top hats, and ran around the stage like a man merely in his mid 40s. VH began the show with "Everybody Wants Some," which always makes me think of Better Off Dead. I want my $2! Haha, what a great movie. "Do you know the street value of this mountain?" Ah, Booger... What? Oh, right... So then Van Halen continued to rock out, playing all the old school songs, and doing it at about 70% of their previous ability (or maybe that's how they rocked it back in the day, I wouldn't really know). Not to detract from the monumentalessness of the show, but Eddie Van Halen has lost a few steps; David Lee Roth can make it through the chorus of any song, but he stumbles with the rest; Alex reminds me of Fish from Barney Miller and doesn't need to offer a drum solo anymore; and I've got nothing really to say about Eddie's fat son other than what I just said. But I loved it. Just have a listen to the grand finale and you'll get a sense of it all. You'll see my crap vantage point of the stage. You'll hear them rock, you'll hear mediocrity mixed with great nostalgic rock, you'll barely see anything but you'll see some of Dave's theatrics. Check it out.
One more thing. On the way out, we walked through the rows of empty seats to bypass the gridlock in the outer ring of the arena. A few turns into our shortcut, we came across an older, fairly unattractive woman, still seated caring for an equally unattractive guy who was rather immobilized with a healthy does of vomit on his Chucks. Van Halen was so rockin, the guy puked. Well done.