With multiple shows getting canceled for various reasons throughout the years, I was starting to feel that I was not destined to see Van Halen. The Hershey Park Stadium show was postponed only five days earlier citing David Lee Roth had the flu. As the date of the Bristow show approached, our excitement built and so did the dread that yet another alert would be sent out stating there would be a rescheduled date or a refund offered. Thankfully the Gods of rock smiled upon us.
Approaching the gates to the venue, the wailing of guitars could be heard in the distance, as The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band warmed the crowd up. Which was a surprise because we were there a half hour before the show time that was marked on the ticket. Making it through security was a breeze with ample security on hand to manage the search of bags, and separate men’s and women’s lines. We found a fairly clear spot in the field and settled in to listen to the last three songs of Kenny Wayne and company’s set which did include my favorite Blue on Black. I have reached out to LiveNation about the time issue in the hopes that future concert goers to the venue won’t miss possible openers they paid to see and to their credit they said they would look into it.
During the band changed we chatted with other fans about what would we could expect to see and who the better front man is DLR or Sammy Hagar also how people felt about or Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen on bass. Who is making a name on his own working with Mark Tremonti. Before the debate could get heated the lights throughout the venue dimmed signaling that Van Halen was ready to take the stage.
Dave and the boys wasted no time getting right into the thick of things starting the show in true David Lee Roth fashion,with Light Up The Sky, and Runnin’ With The Devil. At age 60, Dave has lost a bit of range in his voice at times talk/singing and relying on the crowd to sing along. But the man has not lost a step in stage presence. He managed to slip, slide, jump, and at one point even did a partial split. To say he owned the stage would be an understatement. The only time he slowed down was to sit on chair and exclaim “60 is the new 80!” And to tell a story about the playground near his house where he could hear none other than the Ice Cream Man.
Heading into the encore is where Eddie really took a few moments to shine with a shred induced guitar solo. Fingers elegantly maneuvering up and down the fret board with a quickness that showcased the fact that Eddie Van Halen has perfected the hammer on/hammer off and fret tapping technique. Finishing the show with The Kinks “You Really Got Me” “Panama“, and 80’s rocking favorite “Jump“. It has taken us a long time to finally see Van Halen and it was well worth the wait. From start to finish the guys looked to be enjoying their time on stage together. Maybe it’s possible any previous animosity has been put behind them and we can get a few more tours. I wonder if it’s too much to wish for a Van Rothgar Tour to happen?
There are still a few shows left of the Tokyo Live Tour. If you can catch one, here are the dates! http://www.van-halen.com/2015tourdates.html