Van Halen, Tacoma Dome May 5, 2012

 \My friend Paul bought two VIP tickets to see Van Halen and I can’t thank him enough for being kind to invite me.   I grew up listening to Van Halen and EVH is the reason why I wanted to learn how to play guitar while in middle school.  Paul has an interesting link to Van Halen as they played his high school way back when they were charging $10 a ticket and Van Halen 1 had not even been released.

As soon as went checked in as VIP’s they ushered us into the front three rows where we got to sit in on Van Halen’s soundcheck.   I had to pinch myself as I get to see EVH play so close!!!    They sounded awesome..and I have to give them kudos for having to deal with the awful acoustic echo the Tacoma Dome is notorius for.  I dont know how they didnt fuck up any songs…I know I would have.

Kool and the Gang opened and really put on a great show –  They played all of their classics..and I enjoyed the funk groove they laid down….although I scratched my head when I first heard who would be opening, it makes total sense now –  If the audience wasnt pretty much middle aged white guys,  there would have been  more dancing !   Great performers for sure.

Eddie’s playing was fantastic tonight.   He seemed into it and gave back to the fans because of it.   I watched Wolfgang play bass and he really does kick ass on the bass –  must be awesome to be in a rock band with your father!   I think it took a lot of balls for EVH to put Wolfgang on bass especially since EVH was getting flack from all those pure bred Van Halen fans..   Who cares….if DLR or Sammy Hagar sing ….both bring unique elements of vocal style and charisma to the band.    Alex Van Halen did a fiery Latiin percussion solo…which was fantastic.

While David Lee Roth’s voice seemed to strain at times,  let’s face it,   after performing for so many years and growing old, I don’t know if my voice would be able to sound like I did when I was in my early twenties.   I find DLR’s stage presence unique and entertaining.   When he came out with an acoustic guitar, he had home movies playing on the big screen and sharing with the audience how he loves his dogs, has horses and three kinds of pick up trucks in his garage.   I guess the days of DLR indulging in the excesses of rock stardom has taken him and the rest of the band on those lovely little journeys of finding one’s self and surviving addictions,  relationship turmoil and band in fighting.

People will say what they want about Van Halen –  their days are over, blah blah blah.    Van Halen touched so many lives and inspired so many of kids out there to pick up a guitar and learn to play with feeling.  I am glad that in my lifetime I have seen Van Halen twice.   I wish only the best for Eddie’s continued sobriety so he can continue giving us middle aged guys our generation’s guitar hero.


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