244: Van Halen

At my concert, David Lee Roth spent the majority of the show dancing around, having fun, and doing whatever the fuck he wanted, which sometimes meant not singing his part.  But he was so entertaining and energetic that even the other band members didn't care.  On many occasions he would take out a pair of batons or a long mic stand and twiri them around like he was a ten year old pretending to be a ninja.  Frankly, it was hilarious and adorable.  Dave was adorable the whole time.  And the Van Halens all played spectacularly, Eddie and Alex still haven't lost any of their touch, and Wolfgang did an alright job as backup.  The best part of the night came at the end of the show, when Eddie played his "Eruption" solo, turning it into a 10-minute long journey of technical mastery and beautiful atmospheric noise.  It was a fucking psychadelic exprience.  There were, however, a lot of problems with the rest of the performance that night.

Before I even got to the show, I wasn't expecting anything that would blow me away.  I already knew that David Lee Roth's voice has succumbed to age quite a bit, but I assumed getting to headbang to the music would cover that up for the most part.  Unfortunately there were a few other factors to the concert that left me pretty disappointed.  To start off, my seat was up in the balcony, so I was looking down on the band from the side, as opposed to being down on the floor looking up at them.  And to make things worse, the balcony was a sitting section, so everyone remained seated instead of standing up and rocking the fuck out.  If I had been down on the floor standing with everyone else, I would have been air-guitaring so hard that I wouldn't have noticed or minded any problems with the show, but now I had nothing to do except sit still and analyze everything I saw and heard, which isn't a good way to enjoy this kind of concert.  And many of the shortcomings of the show became very clear because of it.

The sound quality at the concert was terrible.  I don't know if it's Van Halen's fault or the venue's fault, but it was by far the worst-mixed sound of any concert I've been to.  Eddie's guitar sounded muddled and unrecognizable during the rhythm parts, and some of his solos and wails pierced a little too painfully from the speakers.  In addition to that, the vocals (lead and backup) sounded totally shrill.  Everytime Eddie and Wolfgang would join in for the chorus, the harmonies just sounded unpleasant.  It was really unfortunate, because you could tell they were playing it right, and it was the sound quality that was making it bad.  Also, even though I expected Dave's voice to be pretty bad, it still detracted from the show quite a bit.  On a few of the fan favorites like "Dance The Night Away" and "You Really Got Me," he didn't even sing his part correctly.  He was fun to watch, but not enough to make up for the sound.  I left the concert feeling like I would rather have seen ANY younger band that night instead.  It was basically one of those stereotypical classic rock shows where the band appears to be way past their prime.  Very, very unfortunate, but what can you do?

We'll get back to more bands and recommendations tomorrow, see you all then!

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