What did you think of Van Halenâ€™s Fresno show? Leave a comment with your review. Love it? Just OK? Did they play all the songs you wanted? My take is below. Update: I added more pics and a short video after the break.
A couple songs into Van Halenâ€™s set Thursday night at Save Mart Center, David Lee Roth made his way to one side of the stage, took the microphone stand and wound it up like a batter awaiting a pitch.
He swung the mic stand, paused for a second, then lifted his hand to his forehead as to watch the invisible baseball he just hit sail over some invisible fence. Then he smiled and flamboyantly pranced away.
The message is clear, isnâ€™t it? Van Halen hit a home run in Fresno.
It didnâ€™t really matter that a couple songs later Roth nonchalantly admitted, â€œI forgot the f***in words.â€� By that time, Rothâ€™s antics â€“ waving around a flag to start the show, the karate kicks, pulling out a top hat and trying to dance like Michael Jackson â€“ combined with Eddie Van Halenâ€™s shredding guitar work had already easily won over the Fresno crowd.
The guys in the crowd with the long hair and the rock T-shirts were banging their heads and playing air guitar — and so were the white-collar guys with their long-sleeved shirts still buttoned up. It was that kind of night. Van Halen nostalgia ruled.
It was Rothâ€™s first time touring with the band since most of the people in the building were in their 20s. And the first time since some people there (more than youâ€™d think, actually) were born.
So the crowd â€“ somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 deep â€“ spent pretty much the entire night on its feet partying like it was 1984 again.
No one seemed to care much that some of the songs were very sharp and precise (â€œPanamaâ€� and â€œRunning With the Devil,â€� for instance) while others (â€œHot for Teacherâ€� for one) seemed muddled and confused.
It was because the Van Halen before us was a bit of a rag-tag bunch. You had drummer Alex Van Halen who looked a little more war-torn than his 54 years and then you had 16-year-old Wolfgang Van Halen (Eddieâ€™s son) on bass, who looked more like a freshman band nerd than a touring musician.
Then there was Eddie, who was content to wail away on his guitar (and rightly so, dude is awesome) at the cost of overpowering the rest of the band, including ringmaster Roth, who was giddy-upping around the stage, changing hats and jackets like he was trying them on and proving he can still jump.
Really, though, none of that stuff mattered. Van Halen, rag-tag as it might have been, was having a blast. And Fresno was, too.
Eddie and Diamond Dave hugged. Alex beamed at the ovation he got after a drum solo. Wolfgang even took a page from Daveâ€™s book and took a walk on the half-circle catwalk in front of the stage and threw out his pick. He looked a bit awkward doing it, but whatever. It didnâ€™t matter to Fresno.
The Van Halen fans in the Save Mart Center were just content to watch the band trot around the bases one more time.
Below are my very amateur from-my-seat photos and a short video:
David Lee Roth: Ruler of Fresno
How much you wanna bet that Eddie Van Halen doesnâ€™t even packs shirts when he goes on tour?
â€œHello, Fresno, what do you think of my â€˜Queer Eyeâ€™ makeover?â€�
DLR realizes heâ€™s in Hagar Country and knows Sammy can appear at any moment to swipe the mic. So he hides it.
â€œThank you, Eddie, thank you so much for taking me back.â€�
â€œWhy, yes, I do have a red hat and leather bell-bottoms, thanks for noticing. Fabulous arenâ€™t they?â€�
Diamond Dave is finally bigger than Eddie.
Whoâ€™s cooler: Dave or Eddie?
Sorry, Wolfy, Daddyâ€™s shadow looms very, very big.
Parade leader David Lee Roth reporting for duty.
Check out the girl trying to take the mic.
We call this one Demon Lee Roth.
Yawning, Eddie? Is it that easy for you?
Apparently so, Mr. Sit-Down-on-the-Job.
I’m convinced he just stole Mick Jagger’s collection of jackets.
â€œThanks, Dad, going on tour with you guys was the best birthday present ever. Are you sure Uncle Michael doesnâ€™t mind?â€�
Put your hand in the air if you think David Lee Roth is nutzo.
â€œYes! Being on tour is so much better than a morning talk show â€“ even if Iâ€™m playing with a 16-year-old.â€�
Thatâ€™s Captain David Lee Roth to you.
David Lee Roth has the magical power to make arenas rain confetti and change a normal microphone into a 20-foot mega microphone. Hear that, Sammy?
â€œWeâ€™re Van Halen and we totally rule.â€�