This show was at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, MI (USA). The thing I loved about the show was how well the band sounded, including Roth. The show was DEFINITELY worth every penny I spent on this show.
USA (Detroit), February 20, 2012
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Sound: This past Monday I got to check out Van Halen on the 2nd date of their new tour. The band hit the stage around 9 PM and they played till 1045 PM. David Lee Roth hit the stage belting out the new and classic songs like he never left Van Halen. Instead of using a microphone and mic stand he used a headset during the whole show. I was a little worried going into this because of the things I heard about their Detroit show on the 2007/2008 tour. Those were completely erased very quickly. Ever since the reunion I've heard multiple slams against Wolfgang Van Halen about his playing and backing vocals. Seeing Wolf with the band you'll forget about Michael Anthony all together. Wolf played and sang backing vocals just as well as Mike would have. The sound and quality VH played with was unbelievable. // 10
Perfomance: From the time VH hit the stage till the end the crowd was giving it 110%. The audience was participating so much at points you could hear the crowd singing over Roth. The show's set list was:
01. You Really Got Me
02. Runnin' With The Devil
03. She's The Woman
04. Romeo Delight
06. Everybody Wants Some
07. Somebody Get Me A Doctor
08. China Town
09. Mean Street
10. (Oh) Pretty Woman
11. Drum Solo
13. The Trouble With Never
14. Dance the Night Away
15. I'll Wait
16. HOT For Teacher
17. Women In Love
18. Girl Gone Bad
19. Beautiful Girls
20. Ice Cream Man
22. Guitar Solo
23. Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
"You Really Got Me" and "Runnin' With The Devil" were played perfect with Eddie playing better than ever. The band used those two classic to get the crowd warmed up for the new track "She's The Woman". Playing this song was the song for myself to see if the rest of the Detroit area was on the same boat as me, on loving the new album. The moment the band started to play the song the crowd went insane singing it word for word. After "She's The Woman" the band took us back to 1980's "Women And Children First" launching straight into (My favorite Halen song) "Romeo Delight". If you go to YouTube and pull up Van Halen playing this song at US Festival '83 Eddie played it no different from that performance. The only things different from this and the one from US Fest. is 1. Roth is sober, and remembered the lyrics and 2. Wolfgang is playing bass instead of Michael Anthony.
Next up was the first single from their new album "A Different Kind Of Truth" the kick-a** song "Tattoo". They played the song like it was one of the classics. In my opinion, it was better than the record. Next two songs were "Everybody Wants Some!" and "Somebody Get Me A Doctor". Wolf's backing vocals on "Somebody Get Me A Doctor" were no different then any old video of Mike in the band. After those they played "China Town" from the new album. Eddie's tone on the song was amazing. Alex's drumming for the song was like his playing on "Hot For Teacher" times 10. During the song with Alex's double foot pedal and Wolf's bass playing my seat was vibrating so much I could myself shaking. After "China Town" the lights went out as Eddie starting the beginning of "Mean Street". If you compare the record version to this show's version the only difference would be Dave's singing. The sound of the band whether it was their playing or backing vocals was on the spot. Once they ended "Mean Street" if you were a guy you enjoyed the next song. Once they started playing "Pretty Woman" every girl in the venue went crazy (One of many times this happened). Between the band and all the girls it was hard choosing which one to watch. Alex Van Halen took things over from there launching into an amazing drum solo.
Now if you've videos of his drum solos lately or if you were at this show or the Louisville show and are thinking "What is this guy talking about? His solos were better back in the day." You got to remember he is getting old. Alex definitely proved though age isn't slowing him down at all. He definitely didn't play as fast and as long as he used to, but still gave 110%. At the end of his solo Roth, Eddie, and Wolf came running back out with Eddie launching right into "Unchained". Now seeing videos from the three shows before the tour started in Louisville this past Saturday night I was kind of worried about this one, because of Dave's singing now. All was put to rest though. Even though we all can easily agree Roth can't hit a good amount the notes he used to, he is still a great singer and sang it a lot better than I expect. Next they played the fourth and final song from the new album of the night the song "The Trouble With Never". For what ever reason its hard for me to remember this song. The thing I do remember most about it though, was hearing that Roth-era sounding background vocals.
After that song the boys took us back to 1979 and let the girls in the audience do some dirty dancing playing Alex's least favorite VH song "Dance The Night Away". Now we all know tones for guitars have changed a lot from 1979 to now, but some how Eddie manage to deliver the tune with the classic "Van Halen II" sound we know and love. After the girls got to show off their dance moves the synth-driven 1984 classic "I'll Wait" was next. Out of every song the band played at this show whether it was old or new Roth sang this song the best out of all of them. The band stayed with the album "1984" for the next blasting right into the motorcycling sounding drum intro of the hit "Hot For Teacher". On this one it really showed that Roth can't pull over what he used as he did that talking-singing style through the song barely even attempting the high notes.
After "Hot For Teacher" the boys broke open the VH vault of songs, and dug in deep playing "Women In Love" ("Van Halen II") and "Girl Gone Bad" ("1984"). These two songs I did know but no where near as well as the rest of the songs on the set. Listening to the songs starting from two days before the show all the way up to pulling into the venue I was able to get a firm grip on the classic songs. How the band played these songs was like someone at a VH back in the day hit pause just before the performance of these songs and hit play at this show. The sound Eddie played with on these two songs especially "Girl Gone Bad" was something VH fans lost with the Hagar-era (1985-1996, 2003-2005). The song was getting close to the end and the smoking HOT ladies at the show we're pretty drunk when Eddie made the girls go crazy and get dirty when he started playing the riff for "Beautiful Girls". By this point in the show it was no longer a concert, it was longer one big rock 'n' roll party. Even though a lot of people in the crowd, including myself, had blown out our voices by this song the audience kept it going loud and strong singing with the band.
Once "Beautiful Girls" ended Roth walked out from backstage playing his acoustic, during this time he talked to the audience while showing pictures of himself with his dogs on the cattle ranch he owns, I was starting to wondering when Eddie was going to and even if he was going to do a guitar solo. Once Roth started the song and the rest of the jammed out on the VH cover of "Ice Cream Man" you could see the band's crew getting the confetti machines ready (A sign the show is pretty much about to end at a VH show). After they rocked out on their 1978 cover Roth and the boys took all of us on a trip as they played their 1984 hit "Panama". After the song's guitar solo Eddie, Wolf, and Alex broke things down as Roth started hitting on the female fans in the front row before going into the end of the song.
When "Panama" ended the lights went out and myself along with everyone else got what we were waiting for as Alex started to drum fill of Eddie Van Halen's infamous guitar solo "Eruption". From there Eddie took things over launching into an 8-9 minute guitar solo. Once Alex walked off stage Eddie sat right in front of the drum set playing insanely fast. After he finished shredding, he walked over to his pedals as the smoke machines kicked on covering the stage and main floor crowd. Eddie then launched into 1982's "Cathedral". "Cathedral" was something is used as part of his solo during the Hagar-era and was the intro to "Secrets" on the "Diver Down" album. After the smoke cleared and he finished "Cathedral" it was back to a full on, extremely fast shred leading into the end of "Eruption".
After being completely awed and the rest of the band returning to the stage it was time for the legendary song from the first album in 1978 "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love". The intensity they played this song at was a level you don't see anymore with most new bands. It was played loud, strong, clean, and with enough feeling and power to blow you away. As they finished Roth yelled to the audience "Do you want a f***ing encore?" and with a STRONG reply of yes from the crowd, Roth reply back with "Ok, here you f***ing go" as the keyboard parts of "Jump" filled the arena. Eddie played it perfect, same goes for Wolf and Alex, and Roth sang it like it was brand new as confetti covered the crowd and the lights came back on signally the end of the show. One thing the band had I thought was the screen they had set up behind Alex's drum set. At one point it wasn't working properly but once they fixed the problem it was pretty sweet. // 10
Overall Impression: This show was at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, MI (USA). The openers for Van Halen were Kool And The Gang which I didn't end up getting to see (Not like I wanted to see them anyway). The thing I loved about the show was how well the band sounded, including Roth. Everyone has been making a big deal about Michael Anthony not longer a band member etc. They sound no different now then they did when Mike was in the band. The thing I didn't care for too much was Roth's moves on stage. I understand he is trying to give the fans the best show possible, but you're not the showman you were back in the late 70s and early 80s. I paid $40 for my tickets but got upgraded seats from security so ended up sitting 6th row instead of 20th. The show was DEFINITELY worth every penny I spent on this show. The thing I'll never forget about this show is everything from when I walked into the Palace before it started till when I left the parking lot at the end. I will without a doubt go again and with keeping going until Van Halen is gone forever. // 10