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Van Halen | July 9, 2015

Van Halen

Van Halen is back on the road touring North America and hit the Concord Pavilion last night for the first of two Bay Area shows (the second being July 16 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View).  Only three dates into the run, there was definitely an expectant vibe buzzing in the air amongst the capacity crowd, but when Van Halen took the stage around 8:45, it quickly became clear that the wheels were nowhere near coming off this sometimes-volatile bus.

If you had happened to peak at the previous nights’ setlists, you would not have been surprised that Van Halen went way-deep into their catalog to open with Light Up The Sky, but what may have been surprising is how freaking good they sounded. Much of the crowd seemed downright dumbfounded up until that point but when Wolfgang let loose the familiar thump-thump-thump of Runnin’ With the Devil, the band/audience groove settled right in and set the tone for the two hour set.

Surprisingly, the setlist steered mostly clear of 2012’s “A Different Kind of Truth” with the band only breaking out She’s the Woman and China Town during the 25 song set. But despite the setlist taking a jump in the way-back machine, don’t expect to see “Women and Children First”-era David Lee Roth. With a well-talc’ed dance floor mid-stage and that wide-eyed grin,  DLR was more “Eat ‘Em And Smile” meets Dancing With The Stars than the image of the golden-maned rock idol. When you see David up top the drum riser, you’re not going to get the epic, high-flying jump-splits, but that’s okay, because Dave still knows how to work a stage like no else … even Wolfgang and Eddie were visibly amused by the ongoing banter (e.g. “It’s not who you love, it’s who will love you again”). In his own words, you get “50 shades of Dave, baby!”

Everyone but Wolfgang got a moment to show off their stuff. Alex busted out out a drum solo that was memorable for its synth-laden beats that had many wondering where all that noise was coming from. Dave took a seat on a folding camp stool with only a guitar and harmonica to dedicate a pretty great solo rendition of Ice Cream Man to the US Women’s World Cup champions (“a little ice cream for the ladies”). And of course there was Eddie … on-point all night with exceptional tapping and harmonics skills, but pulling out some tricks during his solo that proved that he is not only about the speed. The smile on his face on the big screen when he paused before launching Eruption was met with thundering applause tha tnearly matched the reaction to the intro of Ain’t Talking About Love.

After starts and stops, the David Lee Roth-fronted Van Halen seems to have their act well-together. Two hours of the classics managed to keep the Concord Pavilion’s lawn riveted through the set closer in spite of the wet of the sprinkle. For those in the Bay Area, there’s still one more change to catch this act … mark your calendars. July 16. You won’t be disappointed.

Setlist:

  • Light Up the Sky
  • Runnin’ With the Devil
  • Romeo Delight
  • Everybody Wants Some!!
  • Drop Dead Legs
  • Feel Your Love Tonight
  • Somebody Get Me a Doctor
  • She’s the Woman
  • China Town
  • I’ll Wait
  • Drum Solo
  • Little Guitars
  • Dance the Night Away
  • Beautiful Girls
  • Women in Love
  • Hot for Teacher
  • In a Simple Rhyme
  • “Dirty Movies”
  • Ice Cream Man (John Brim cover)
  • Unchained
  • Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
  • Guitar Solo
  • You Really Got Me (The Kinks cover)
  • Panama
  • Jump

Supporting Act: Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band

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