So along with a few hundred photos to marinade on one of my unrequited loves of all time, I’ll finally collect my thoughts here on Van Halen at the Palace on February 20th. Immediate plus side? No fucking Sammy Hagar, which is always a positive. Negative? Wolfie on bass, but you have to give it up for cutting all ties with Hagar so we’ll call that a draw. Anyways. 50 seconds in below.
The show opened pretty hot with the Van Halen treatment of the Kinks’ classic “You Really Got Me.” The energy of the crowd was noticeable, but it was the kind of energy that is a given when 30-40,000 people are 3-4 beers deep for the first couple songs of any show. Personally I really felt like I was at a Van fucking Halen show when young Wolfie thumped the bassline of “Runnin’ With The Devil.” Shit, I’ve wailed to “Runnin’” countless times and Roth’s energy was through the roof as at this point he was jump kicking like a maniac with the crowd on their feet cheering. Check out Runnin' With The Devil and basically the entire show in this Van Halen Palace playlist up on youtube.
But with new tune “She’s The Woman” it would be a bit of the ebb and flow of the entire night, although "Woman" definitely had the punch of some older VH, Eddie's solo, it would echo the heavy hitter followed by a somewhat ballad-y slow jam or a newer tune theme that ran through the whole night and muted the crowd’s energy and spiraled the cougar filled crowd into a bit of a booze filled stumble at times. Now, this isn’t to say this show wasn’t entertaining as all hell, it was. I was thoroughly entertained throughout most of the show, however, I would be lying if I said it was the Van Halen I had hoped for. I want to see Van fucking Halen. I want to see Eddie shredding and David Lee Roth ripping through the breakdowns of “Hot For Teacher” and improvising gibberish doo-wap lyrics. Now there was definitely a fair amount of this, so I cant complain too much.
“Hot For Teacher” fucking ruled, naturally, as did “Panama” but I think what the WRIF caller alluded to but never said (even on the air later) was with the quasi psychedelic backgrounds that were on the video feed kalediescoped across the led backdrop of the Palace. Check 5:00 in for Hot For Teacher.
The tone got a bit weird and the crowd responded accordingly, people sighed and sat down a fair amount. This was exacerbated by the fact that periodically there would be choppy photos of the newly formed quartet mugging scale gigantically across the huge backdrops, smiling, laughing, singing randomly and just in general looking weird and out of place. People of course sat down during slower songs, but I guess that's always expected. A few of the odd backdrops were a major factor in some of the lack of enthusiasm from crowd at points for a show that for all intensive purposes was pretty entertaining. Both Eddie and David Lee were running around like little kids and the quartet sounded tight and rehearsed as they whipped through the 23 song set. Now, would I have been a little peeved at paying the $140 for my ticket? Yea. I only paid $40 for from someone outside the venue, so no complaints here on that front, but $140 for a 2-hour show? Anywho, overall the show was fairly non-stop entertaining, but just a different, new(er) Van Halen coming back, none of which is really a bad thing.
As Van Halen let people shoot the entire show (something I haven't done in a few years...) I’ve upped a borderline obscene amount of pictures. Check all 300 or so out at your leisure below along with the full setlist. Van Halen Palace of Auburn Hills 2-20-2012 Setlist You Really Got Me Running With The Devil She's The Woman Romeo Delight Tattoo Everyone Wants Some Somebody Get Me A Doctor China Town Mean Street Pretty Woman Drum Solo Unchained Trouble With Never Dance The Night Away I'll Wait Hot For Teacher Woman In Love Outta Love Again Girl Gone Bad Beautiful Girls Ice Cream Man Panama Eddie Solo Ain't Talking About Love E: Jump