Saturday, March 31, 2012

concert is still being talked about Concert review: Van Halen makes fans 'Jump'

photo ofconcert - Concert review: Van Halen makes fans 'Jump'

Concert review: Van Halen makes fans 'Jump'

Here's a tip for the kids, free of charge. If you're looking to be in a band, particularly in the hard rock, metal, glam genre, and you want to do it for life, be the guitar shredder.

It's hard now, but it will be so much easier 20, 30 years down the road. You won't have to dance around, do scissor kicks and try in vain to reach the high notes that helped make the whole band sizzle.

Eddie Van Halen has no problem with those high notes. He just slides his fast fingers down the neck like that. David Lee Roth has the hard job of being the 57-year-old frontman who doesn't possess the long golden locks and animal magnetism he had at 27.

Despite being the people's choice among Van Halen fans, in part because the old songs are infinitely better, he was the weak link when the band played Pittsburgh on a 2007-08 reunion tour that also marked the debut of a new rhythm section -- Alex Van Halen with Eddie's son, Wolfgang, on bass. On Friday night, the same foursome returned, at the Consol Energy Center, this time with a bit more swagger, having been back on the grind and scoring critical acclaim and fan acceptance for comeback album, "A Different Kind of Truth."

While DLR was never Daltrey or Plant to begin with, he did seem better equipped for this tour, and Eddie and Wolfie helped on the high harmonies. The new songs, delivered in a lower register, and occasional talk-sing, also were better suited to his range.

The drawing card, of course, is still Eddie, who bounded on stage all smiles, launched VH with the thunderous riff from "Unchained" ("hit the ground running," right?) and took a pair of high flying solos that instantly reinforced that decision to buy a ticket. It looked like Diamond Dave might have been trying unsuccessfully to moonwalk.

VH took fans back to the beginning via "Runnin' with the Devil," with Dave's vocals making you wonder if maybe runnin' with Jesus would have been a better choice. He also hit some notes on "Dance the Night Away" that would have sent the devil running for cover.

Eddie was on fire, whether it was the deafening squeals of "Everybody Wants Some," the slow searing riff of "Jamie's Cryin'," the snarling "You Really Got Me" or the lightning fast blues of "Hot for Teacher," a furious workout for the boys on the bottom.

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