Van Halen’s reunion tour came to Cincinnati Tuesday night. This show has been long awaited by myself and many of the fans in the area, especially since this rescheduled show was originally supposed to take place on March 5th. This show was postponed so Eddie Van Halen could take care of an undisclosed medical condition. ( Turf Toe?, Male Pattern Baldness?, Erectile disfunction? the world may never know.)
I never had the chance to see David Lee Roth with Van Halen, back in the early 80’s and I have always regretted it. I wouldn’t dare miss this reunion show, especially with how volatile the bands’ relationship has been over the years.
The questions I had going into this show were the following:
Will Michael Anthony be missed? Can David Lee Roth still sing?
Can Eddie Van Halen still get it done live? Is Van Halen worth the over inflated ticket price?
I have heard and read a lot of good and bad things about this tour, from the cities where it took place prior to Tuesday Night’s Show.
I opted for the cheaper seats for this show, and by cheap, I mean the $49.50 ticket before Ticketmaster added their extortion rates to the ticket price. With the huge video screen behind the stage, there truly wasn’t a bad seat to be had for this show. U.S. Bank Arena was at near capacity. If this wasn’t a sell out, it was damn close.
The Stage set up for Van Halen was quite cool. The stage was set up in a Giant S configuration. The bottom part of the S reached out into the stands, and circled the people in the pit close to the main stage. The lighting, and monsterous video screen were pretty cool, in fact the video screen greatly enhanced my view from my nosebleed seats.
So as far the Answers to my questions…….
Michael Anthony was definitely missed. At times I thought they may have used his recorded back up vocals. Michael always was one to run around the stage and get the crowd going. Wolfgang Van Halen is not. The kid can certainly play bass, and his Frankenstein paint scheme was pretty cool. The bad thing is, the kid doesn’t have any stage presence. None, zero, zilch. This will come in due time, but it isn’t there in 2008.
David Lee Roth was the surprise of the night for me. Diamond Dave sounds great. He can’t hit all of those high notes he used to, but his vocal performance was spot on.
Eddie Van Halen was pretty impressive and boring all at the same time. While his fretwork was second to none, he didn’t move from his position on stage. I don’t know if his legs were chained down to a certain area, but Eddie was center stage for 99% of the show. He moved very little, and certainly did not make use of the cool ramps they had on stage. His playing and solos were awesome, especially when he played Eruption, but his lack of energy was extremely disappointing.
Aside from David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen had the most energy. His drumming was excellent all night, and his drum solo was very cool.
As a whole, Van Halen sounded awesome all night, they just didn’t have any energy on stage. Maybe I have been spoiled by seeing Airbourne’s high energy live show recently. Van Halen had about a tenth of the energy in their show that Airbourne had.
The energy from the crowd at U.S. Bank Arena was quite a different story. Tons of people were singing along and dancing. As a whole most people seemed to leave happy, and quite a few were hooting and hollering as they exited the arena.
So the Bottomline…..was Van Halen worth the ticket price. In my estimation, yes they were. I wouldn’t have paid the mega bucks required to sit on the floor ($150.00), but I was glad that I went. David Lee Roth called the band three quarters original, one quarter inevitable.
Maybe it was inevitable that Van Halen’s live performance would not quite live up to my expectations. The band is certainly past their prime. Van Halen is still one of the biggest hard rock bands to ever come from the United States. Past their prime or not, I am glad I got to see them with Roth as the singer for the first time. Even though they were not at their best, they still sounded great. The live music is what matters the most!