How to almost ruin what was supposed to be a memorable night in Toronto, by David Lee Roth.
OPENING ACT: Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
Although American guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd and his band members (Noah Hunt, Chris Layton, Riley Osbourn and Scott Nelson) are undeniably talented, I don’t think they were the best option to open the night for Van Halen at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. I might be wrong, but the Blues Rock played by this good band from Shreveport, Louisiana was not exactly what fans of the electrifying Hard Rock played by Mr. Edward Lodewijk Van Halen & Co. really wanted to see as an opening act, cooling down the temperature among the fans on a perfect night in Toronto.
Anyway, as I said before, their music was solid enough to get a positive reaction from the crowd even if they had opened for Slayer or Cannibal Corpse, and their concert was short and sweet to avoid any signs of boredom among the Van Halen fans. You can check their setlist HERE, and if Blues Rock is your cup of tea or if you are a guitarist you should definitely go after the music by Mr. Shepherd, in case you haven’t done so already.
Aging is not a curse, but an essential part of life. If we do not age, there’s nothing to accomplish, there’s no adrenaline to make our own lives more interesting, to keep us moving forward until the inevitable end comes. We all grow old, and although we might not have the same energy as when we were in our 20’s we still have a lot to offer to the world. During the North America Summer/Fall 2015 tour by Hard Rock heroes Van Halen you’ll be able to see how growing old is not a bad thing and how to keep kicking ass through the years (Eddie and Alex Van Halen), and how trying to be the same person you were 30 years ago is not a good idea (David Lee Roth).
In other words, if you attended or is planning to attend any of the concerts from the current Van Halen tour, you’ll witness how David Lee Roth is unfortunately capable of destroying almost all the electricity and atmosphere brought forth by the other members of the band. Don’t get me wrong, I love Diamond Dave and I believe he’s one of those guys that truly revolutionized rock music with his unique charisma and voice, but his performance nowadays is getting to a point it’s better if he call it quits and Eddie brings back even the tedious Gary Cherone to be the frontman of the band.
The setlist was quite lengthy (25 songs in total), which is not an issue if you have guys like Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford or Dave Mustaine to entertain you, but David Lee Roth can’t keep it up with Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang anymore even during their biggest classics such as Runnin’ With the Devil, Hot for Teacher and Jump. For instance, Hot for Teacher is by far my favorite Van Halen anthem of all time and the speed they played the song here in Toronto, especially Alex who was beautifully smashing his drums as if he was playing some Thrash Metal tune (by the way, his drum solo a few songs before that was also fuckin’ awesome), was outstanding, but I was yawning during most of the song because Dave “forgot” to sing it properly and decided to do some weird screams instead. He was not even trying to sing the chorus.
Of course fans got more into the concert after they started playing Unchained, mainly because the following songs were all classics and we got a PERFECT guitar solo by Eddie, but before that it felt like people were about to fall asleep and never return to consciousness so bored everyone seemed to be. No one was dancing during Dance the Night Away, can you believe that? I guess that says it all. And what were all those lame “speeches” Dave insisted on giving every two minutes, most of the time in the middle of a song, including a boring story about a bicycle he had when he lived in New York City? Van Halen doesn’t need that type of shit, they have one of the best guitar players in the world, and one of the most charismatic frontmen on earth, why not focusing on the MUSIC itself instead?
In summary, what was supposed to be a memorable night for all Van Halen fans that attended the concert this Friday in Toronto became a sad letdown, thanks to the once mesmerizing but now disappointing performance by David Lee Roth. I enjoyed the show as much as I could (and so did lots of other fans), getting thrilled with every single riff and solo fired by the guitar god Eddie, banging my head to the precise beats by Alex, and enjoying Wolfgang’s increasing consistence with his bass lines, but you know it’s not perfect without the magic crafted by Diamond Dave in front of the band. Let’s just hope he finally learns how to age soon, and then we will surely get back the real Van Halen we all love so much.
1. Light Up the Sky
2. Runnin’ With the Devil
3. Romeo Delight
4. Everybody Wants Some!!
5. Drop Dead Legs
6. Feel Your Love Tonight
7. Somebody Get Me a Doctor
8.She’s the Woman
9. China Town
10. I’ll Wait
11. Drum Solo
12. Little Guitars
13. Dance the Night Away
14. Beautiful Girls
15. Women in Love
16. Hot for Teacher
17. In a Simple Rhyme
18. “Dirty Movies”
19. Ice Cream Man (John Brim cover)
21. Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love
22. Guitar Solo
23. You Really Got Me (The Kinks cover)
David Lee Roth – lead vocals
Eddie Van Halen – guitar, backing vocals
Wolfgang Van Halen – bass guitar, backing vocals
Alex Van Halen – drums