Photos by G.
Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth
Van Halen! The rockers performed a sold out show at New York’s Madison Square Garden on February 28, 2012. The show began at 7:30 with one of the oddest pairings for an opening act that I’ve ever seen – Kool and the Gang. While they sounded great, it was definitely the wrong vibe to establish before watching a rock and roll concert. For those wondering, Kool and the Gang performed Jungle Boogie, Ladies Night, Fresh, Emergency and Celebration during their 45 minute set. Van Halen took the stage around 8:50 (instead of the posted time of 9 PM) and had the crowd on their feet for the entire show, which is an accomplishment not all bands playing the same venue can make happen.
David Lee Roth
David Lee Roth is back as lead singer after a long absence and it was great to see him strutting his stuff on stage. He sparingly did his signature high kick in the air, but he can still do it and Van Halen can still rock. We’ve all gotten used to their songs as part of our lives, but when you hear these songs performed by the band that wrote them as 20,000 people sing along is a pretty cool thing. The show brought out the inner rock-star geek in all of us and you could see people playing air guitar throughout the arena. Drummer Alex Van Halen and guitar god Eddie Van Halen each did 5 minute solos and they are both still so incredible! They made their intricate playing look effortless and the crowd loved every second of it.
Alex Van Halen
The band played a lot of new material off 2012’s “A Different Kind of Truth,” including the first single “Tattoo.” Though the songs sounded pretty good in an arena setting, the material breaks no new ground and probably does not work as well in the iPod generation. But aside from the new songs, Van Halen played pretty much every hit (from the David Lee Roth era) that you could hope to hear including their famous cover of Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “Ain’t ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” “Hot For Teacher,” “Panama,” “I’ll Wait,” “Jump,” and “Running With The Devil.”
Wolfgang Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen
David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen appeared to be having a great time on stage and DLR’s on-stage banter to the crowd seemed unscripted and at times rambling causing Eddie Van Halen to fall out laughing several times. If there are still tensions in the band, they disguised them pretty well and they showed no signs of slowing down. Instead of leaving the stage and coming back for an encore, the band never left the stage and concluded their nearly 2 hour set with the 1984 classic “Jump.” As of press time, we don’t know what the future of Van Halen will be, so if you enjoy their music, you’d better check them out on this tour. It’ll be worth it!
See the setlist after the jump.
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Photo by G. Art by Morley.
My Coffin Will Be A Rowboat Back To You by Morley
Someone rudely attempted to destroy this great work of art by Morley, but the only coffin here is the one mentioned by said artist.
Photo by G.
Van Hunt - Live At The Troubadour - Out March 13, 2012
I am definitely biased when it comes to Van Hunt’s music. He can pretty much do no wrong by me musically as I’ve loved the progression of his sound from album to album. He gets compared to Lenny Kravitz and Prince a lot and I see why people say those things; however, if you see Lenny or Prince these days, they’ve lost the creative spark that used to show them setting trends instead of following them. Enter Van Hunt. He’s not Prince and he’s not Lenny. He’s one of the few artists out there that is taking chances musically. The latest direction in his music is the 2011 album “What Were You Hoping For?” a seamless fusion of Soul and Punk! The title of the album suggests correctly that if you think you are going to get a rehash of the types of songs Van Hunt has already released, you’ve probably purchased the wrong album.
I’ve recommended going to see Van Hunt live every chance you can because he is not just an exciting studio musician, but when he performs, you get to see a whole other side to Van Hunt. He’s not one to sound exactly like his records in concert and in fact he typically plays almost unrecognizable versions of his songs as he changes the arrangements dramatically. For those that have been unable to see Van live, the next best thing is “Live At The Troubadour 2011,” a 19 track live album recorded in Los Angeles last year. You’ll hear what I’ve been talking about with these great performances of songs like “Character,” which is much more rock than soul; a thrashin’ version of “Her December” instead of the jazzy studio version, and a fast version of “Hot Stage Lights” (known on the album as “Man of the Year”). He also plays a couple of tracks from his still unreleased record “Popular” and even those renditions are different than the studio versions. You’ll also hear live takes on many tracks from “What Were You Hoping For?” including a funky version of the title track, and the thrashing “Watching You Go Crazy Is Driving Me Insane” as well as the first single, “Eyes Like Pearls.” At the risk of losing fans, Van Hunt is not trying to alienate anyone with the dramatic direction he’s taking. He’s just trying to grow as an artist and listening to “Live at the Troubadour” will cement the fact that Van Hunt is a force to be reckoned with. In addition, the album will tantalize you for his next tour (and great news – his Spring 2012 tour dates are below) and will ensure that you never miss seeing Van Hunt perform live.
3/15Austin, TX @ Cedar Street Courtyard – SXSW/Thirty Tigers Showcase
3/16Houston, TX@Warehouse Live Studio
3/17Dallas, TX @ Prophet Bar
3/20 St. Louis, MO @ Lola
3/21Chicago, IL@ Lincoln Hall
3/22Ferndale, MI@ The Magic Bag
3/23Cleveland, OH @Beachland Ballroom
3/24Toronto, ON @The Great Hall
3/27Washington, DC @The Hamilton
3/28Baltimore, MD @Sound Stage
3/29Pittsburgh, PA@ Thunderbird Café
3/31Providence, RI@ Fete Lounge
4/1Philadelphia, PA@ World Café Live
4/2New York, NY @ The Studio @ Webster Hall
4/3Brooklyn, NY@ Knitting Factory
4/5Charlotte, NC@ Double Door Inn
4/6Atlanta, GA @The Earl
4/7Nashville, TN @ Jazz & Jokes
4/9Columbus, OH @The Basement
4/11Dayton, OH @Canal Street Tavern
4/13Bloomington, IL @The Castle Theatre
4/14Davenport, IA @RME Performance Hall
4/15Minneapolis, MN @Fine Line Music Café
The Tracklist for Van Hunt’s Live at “The Troubadour” 2011 is:
2. Dimples On Ur Bottom
3. Hello Goodbye
4. Man Of The Year
6. Seconds Of Pleasure
7. Watching You Go Crazy Is Driving Me Insane
8. What Were You Hoping For?
9. North Hollywood
10. What Can I Say?
12. Prelude Reprise / Highlights / Peter Intro
13. Eyes Like Pearls
14. Her December
15. A Time Machine Is My New Girlfriend
17. Down Here In Hell
18. The Lowest 1 Of My Desires