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Van Halen Is Back

by Omar on January 20, 2012

in Article, Event Review

From the late 70’s to the mid 80’s, Van Halen was one of the most dynamic acts in Rock. After Sammy Hagar took over lead vocals for David Lee Roth in 1985, Van Halen continued to soar in popularity. No one can deny the heavy influence that Eddie Van Halen has exerted on the guitar community. And Alex Van Halen provided a solid drumming foundation with seemingly limitless energy.

I look at Van Halen as having two main eras, as probably most people do: the David Lee Roth era, and the Sammy Hagar era. Both eras feature some great music. The David Lee Roth era is where Eddie made his mark, and where I think was his most dynamic and creative playing.

I always thought Alex was a great drummer right from the start, but he took his drumming to another level for 1984. This to me was his best record, both for his playing and his drum sound. The drums sounded incredible (especially the bass drum) - leaps and bounds better than all previous records. He was for sure one of my favorite drummers during this time, and is one of my all-time favorite drummers (you can see my drum cover tribute to Alex Van Halen, “Girl Gone Bad”. Just cut me a little slack – it was a while ago 🙂 ).

My favorite era was the David Lee Roth era. It was very difficult during high school not to hear “Everybody Wants Some!!” blasting in the back of the bus, every day. Since that was my favorite era, I decided to put together yet another ideal set list.

What you see above was my foray into the ‘Discussions’ feature on Facebook a little while back (actually, I did something similar with another band before the Van Halen discussion, but in this case, ‘the last became the first’).  I had a chance to see the band way back in 1984, but those plans fell through.  I did years later see them during the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge tour, with front man Sammy Hagar.  It was a great show.  Although Sammy Hagar has never been a favorite artist of mine, he did steal the show – he had it that night.  I really went to see Alex Van Halen, one of my favorite drummers, and he didn’t disappoint.  But that was a while ago, so I’m really sketchy on the details.

I happened to also see David Lee Roth live when he toured on his own, during the Skyscraper tour.  I actually didn’t know what I was watching:  Steve Vai on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass, and Gregg Bissonette on drums (whoa, what a lineup).  The concert was very entertaining, and thinking back it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to.  And oh yeah, Poison was the opening act!  Quite a wild night of music and showmanship.

But in my heart, I always longed to see the original lineup again.  Sammy Hagar just didn’t do it for me, nor did any of the band’s other iterations.  They did get back together again a couple of years ago, but again, I missed it.  But my brother didn’t, and surprisingly he wasn’t that thrilled with the show.

But here they are again, back in the spotlight with a new album, A Different Kind of Truth.  Time will tell if this new Van Halen is somewhat of a rehash of the old, or foray into the new, or some combination of both.  From watching their new video and single “Tattoo”, looks like Mr. Roth hasn't changed much as far as entertainment value goes (that’s probably a good thing, though).  In my estimation former bass player Michael Anthony only had a few shining moments (“Hang ‘em High” and “Girl Gone Bad” come to mind, maybe a few more), so Wolfgang Van Halen should continue to fill in adequately.  And uncle Alex and Dad Eddie?  It truly is awe-inspiring to watch them play – I’m up to it!

Back to the beginning.  Since I missed that show way back in 1984 (and from a couple of years ago), I decided to come up with a dream set list if these guys would ever get back together again.  I don’t think the guys would need any coaching from me in that regard (of course, if they contact me, I’ll answer!  :)).  The criteria for the format of the set list is described below.

Will you agree with my list? Well, let’s find out! Here are the criteria that we must abide by:

  • All songs must be during the David Lee Roth era (Van Halen I to 1984)
  • All songs must fit on one CD

That’s it! So here’s what I would have liked to see, if I saw Van Halen on their 1984 tour, in the order I would have liked to see it:

  1. Tora! Tora!
  2. Loss of Control
  3. D.O.A.
  4. On Fire
  5. Atomic Punk
  6. Panama
  7. Hear About It Later
  8. Spanish Fly
  9. Little Guitars (intro)
  10. Little Guitars
  11. Dance the Night Away
  12. Drop Dead Legs
  13. So This Is Love?
  14. Unchained
  15. Hot for Teacher
  16. House of Pain
  17. Eruption
  18. You Really Got Me
  19. Hang ‘em High
  20. Girl Gone Bad
  21. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘bout Love
  22. Everybody Wants Some!!
  23. 1984
  24. Jump

With the tour coming up, which songs would you replace?  From the new release, or from old?  Leave your comments, let me know if I’m right, or wrong, or crazy (“Spanish Fly”, really? – hey, it’s my list!  :)).

Go ahead and ‘jump’!

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