Van Halen is now 3/4 Van Halen, with the replacement of Michael Anthony with Eddie's son Wolfgang. Wolfgang doesn't really rock, but he's only 16. Still, he looks like Valerie Bertinelli before Jenny Craig. With her hair from One Day at a Time.
I never thought this before, but at the MSG show last night, I thought all Van Halen songs sound alike. Correction: all David Lee Roth Van Halen songs sound alike, at least performed live. I thought I would know more of them, but sticking to the Diamond Dave repertoire and leaving out the Sammy Hagar stuff limited my knowledge, so only about half the songs sounded familiar to me. Still, with Eddie's guitar and pretty good harmonizing vocals, they all had that Van Halen something that made me really enjoy the whole show.
We had terrible seats. Pretty awful, as in, the last row. The speakers blocked the big screen behind them so I couldn't even watch the show on that. But Roth, replete with a variety of brocade jackets and tophats, had an onstage demeanor that was more circus ringmaster than rock band lead singer, so I could definitely see him gesturing wildly and flipping around the mic stand like a baton.
Dave looks good. I know you won't believe me, but he does. He lost a lot of weight and looks pretty fit, and even his thinning hair was smartly cropped and neat. His wide smile and flamboyance makes him a great showman and draws the eyes to the face rather than to the laced-up crotch of his leather pants, but it was all a bit...Fosse.
And you know what? He can still do those jumping kicks. It was like 1984 all over again.
As a 9 year old I loved "Jump." I didn't understand it at all but I think I was kind of attracted to Dave's charisma, and at the time I couldn't resist a good synthesizer.
When I agreed to go to the show, I figured I would just get drunk and eat popcorn. I did have a couple Pork Slaps at Fat Annie's before the show, but I wasn't drunk. Instead, sitting in my seat, the fifth wheel to a married couple and a couple of dudes from work who are a little too friendly with each other, I just got depressed. I remembered myself as a 9 year old. And I felt old and sad.
Oh, I didn't feel pathetic for being at a Van Halen show (pretty cool actually). Everybody there was actually much older than me. It was more the comparison of my current self with my former third grader self, who loved Van Halen and Def Leppard and dreamed of dating a rock star one day. That hasn't happened yet.
The only Van Halen music I own is from the Sammy Hagar era, but I do own a David Lee Roth solo album on vinyl. I don't think I'll ever play any of that stuff at home, but I have been humming "Dance the Night Away" to myself today...