Van Halen Practice @ Forum, 9/16/07
All Kinds of Awesomeness
The term “awesome” has become rather banal these days. It’s used for things such as seeing Charo in line in front of you at Whole Foods or your new jeans or that Thai restaurant on La Brea. But last night, I saw something that was truly awesome.
No doubt you have heard that Van Halen is back and David Lee Roth is ready to unleash his crazy (yeah, originally I didn’t care either). Last night at the Forum (where the Lakers and Van Halen played in the 70’s and 80’s, incidentally), Van Halen held a final tour rehearsal for 300 of their closest family and friends, and I found myself invited. We were ushered in and seated in the pit, 2nd row center.
What I was treated to was some serious old-school-kick-ass-rock-n-roll-the-likes-of- which-I-have-never-seen. David Lee Roth is 53 and Eddie and Alex Van Halen are 52 and 54, respectively. There was nothing 50ish about these guys. They looked and sounded just like they did in 1984, albeit missing their rocker hair . Laser show, wardrobe changes, giant remote controlled blimps with Van Halen logos cruising overhead, drum and guitar solos, NO recorded voice tracks — this was shit I haven’t seen in a long time. I didn’t realize how much I missed it. It was one of the best shows I have ever seen, and I’m not even a Van Halen fan.
One note is that this truly isn’t a reunion tour since the former bassist, Michael Anthony, was replaced with Eddie and Valerie Bertinell’s 16-year-old son, Wolfgang. Wolfie was nervous as hell, but he held his own on bass. His voice really stood out (not in a good way) – they would be wise in turning down his vocals. But you know, the kid is 16 years old with acne! His voice probably hasn’t even finished changing.
[UPDATE: More VH photos now online! Check ’em out here.]
[UPDATE: As mentioned, more VH photos now online here.]